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Not leaving Congress, people want to spread ducks: Former Goa CM Pratapsingh Rane

Top Congressional leader and former Goan chief minister Pratapsingh Rane on Wednesday ended speculation about his exit from the Congress party, calling it “a figment of the imagination.”

This followed remarks made on Tuesday by the former Maharashtra chief minister and BJP official for the Goa assembly polls. Devendra Fadnavis, where he said the party would soon get the “blessings” from Pratapsingh Rane and the Congress party in Goa would end up with only two MPs.

In a video message, Rane, 82, the longest-serving MP from Goa, said: “The news that is spreading that I am leaving my party is just a figment of the imagination. These people just want to spread ducks. I do not leave my party. I’ve been in the Congress Party for over 45 years, and I don’t think I would ever consider leaving the Congress Party at this point. I belong to the Indian National Congress and that’s it.

On Tuesday, the top congressman and former chief minister Ravi Naik tendered his resignation to the Goa assembly speaker and joined the BJP. His exit from the Congress party reduced the party’s strength in the 40-member assembly to three.

At Naik’s enthronement ceremony in Ponda on Tuesday, Fadnavis said: “When (Deputy Chief Minister) Babu KavlekarI am joined the BJP, I had said that Congress was reduced to a Nano party. They had enough MPs to get into a Nano car. Now with Ravi NaikI am joining the BJP, they became a self-rickshaw group. All their MPs can get into an automatic rickshaw. And soon, when we have the blessings of (Congressman) Pratapsingh Raneji, they will be reduced to a bicycle party. Their deputies will be able to go together anywhere by bicycle.

While Rane’s son – Goa Health Minister Vishwajit Rane – left Congress in 2017 to join the BJP, Pratapsingh Rane retained his seat in the Poriem Assembly for Congress, his 11th consecutive victory.

When Fadnavis met the Ranes in September, he asked the senior Rane to “give blessings” to his son and give the Poriem assembly seat to the BJP. Vishwajit has maintained since 2017 that he joined the BJP with his father’s blessing.

Rane, who first became an MP in 1972, completed 50 years as a lawmaker that year, 45 of them in Congress. He was first elected Member of the Third Legislative Assembly of Goa, Daman and Diu in 1972 with the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP). He then joined Congress and became Chief Minister of Goa in 1980 for the first time, followed by five more terms at the helm of varying lengths. He was also Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Goa and Leader of the Opposition twice each.

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