Union Minister and BJP Rajya Sabha member Narayan Rane was arrested over his comment on slapping Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray during a meeting held recently. He was taken into custody by Nashik police in coastal Ratnagiri district on Tuesday.He was taken to the Sangameshwar police station after being taken into custody, a onfficial said.
Rane is the Minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in the Narendra Modi cabinet and is the first Union Minister to be arrested in 20 years.
The Bombay High Court rejected an urgent hearing on his petition asking for three FIRs against him to be scrapped. The FIRs were filed by the Shiv Sena over his remarks on Monday at a "Jan Ashirwad Yatra" organised nationwide by the BJP. While speaking in the meeting he claimed that Uddhav Thackeray forgot the year of independence during his August 15th address and had to check with his aides mid-speech. "It is shameful that the Chief Minister does not know the year of independence. He leaned back to ask about the count of years of independence during his speech. Had I been there, I would have given him a tight slap," Rane said in the public meeting at Raigad.
The comments sparked outrage among the Shiv Sena members who staged protests and filed FIRs in three cities listed as non-bailable offenses. The Shiv Sena alleged that Rane, a former leader of the party and chief minister of Maharashtra for a brief period, deliberately made the remarks to provoke tension in Maharashtra. "To impress the BJP leadership, Rane has been attacking Shiv Sena and its leaders. He lost his mental balance after his induction into the Modi-led ministry. Modi should show him the door," Sena MP Vinayak Raut said. (With inputs from NDTV)