Mumbai, Nov 3: Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh has said his Revenue Minister and former Shiv Sena leader Narayan Rane had aspirations to become Chief Minister and had joined the Congress with this sole objective.
"He is aspiring to be chief minister and joined the party to be one. However, he does not know the culture of the Congress," Deshmukh told NDTV in an interview.
Sonia is the boss
Speaking about constant speculation about his ouster, Deshmukh who completed four years in office, said the speculations never mattered to him because he knew the mind of the person (Sonia Gandhi) who made him the chief minister.
"She is the sole leader who matters," he said. Deshmukh denied that he was offered a Cabinet berth in the Centre in April this year when speculations were abuzz about his impending ouster as chief minister.
Deshmukh admitted that the speculations had hampered the administration.
"Somehow I could manage," he added.
Slams Amar Singh
The chief minister was critical of leaders from Bihar and also from UP for painting a picture as if there was a war between the state and Maharashtra.
He also ridiculed description of Maharashtra as a banana republic by SP leader Amar Singh. "Amar Singh is a man who always speaks which may not be true," he said.
"These leaders should find out the ground realities before making such comments," he added.
Raj Thackeray is a day dreamer
When asked what message he would like to give MNS chief Raj Thackeray, Deshmukh said, "I would like to tell him to exercise restrain. He should remember the culture of Maharashtra which is different. Some people are daydreamers and he is one of them."
He rejected the charge that the Congress-NCP government had political calculations of splitting Shiv Sena votes and had allowed Raj Thackeray to grow.
"This would have been petty politics. One has to grow on your own in politics," he added.
Deshmukh admitted that there was delay in taking action against Raj in February only because the state government had to put precautionary measures in place before arresting him.