Mumbai, July 21 :
For the second time in two months, senior Congress leader Narayan Rane Monday resigned as Maharashtra’s industry minister.
But he said he would remain in the Congress “as an ordinary worker”.
Rane, who had announced his desire to step down last week, submitted his resignation to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan.
“I have resigned as minister but I shall continue to remain in the Congress,” Rane said, scotching speculation that he might join some other party or float his own outfit.
The resignation came after he toured the Konkan region, his bastion, the past three days and discussed his future plans with his supporters.
On Saturday, the Congress received another shock when seven of its municipal corporators — all staunch Rane supporters — joined the Shiv Sena.
All attempts by the party’s central and state leadership to mollify Rane and dissuade him from quitting failed, even as the assembly elections are due after a couple of months.
On May 16, Rane quit as minister after his son and outgoing MP from Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg lost to the Shiv Sena in the Lok Sabha polls after a revolt by a section of the Nationalist Congress Party there.
At that time, the party, reeling under the resounding defeat in the Lok Sabha election, had rejected his resignation and asked him to continue in his post.
Rane, who was chief minister for nearly a year at the fag end of the Shiv Sena-BJP regime of 1995-99, quit the Shiv Sena to join the Congress in 2005.
After joining the Congress, Rane never hid his ambitions to become the chief minister again and made several attempts to bag the post.