Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Meet the Ranas: The Independent Politician-duo from Maharashtra’s Amravati arrested for planning to chant Hanuman Chalisa in front of Matoshree


Beyond their recent manoeuvrings in challenging the Shiv Sena, Navneet Rana and Ravi Rana wield considerable power from their turf Amravati, the biggest city in Vidarbha after Nagpur.

Maharashtra MLA Ravi Rana with wife MP Navneet Kaur Rana. Image Courtesy: India Today

Independent MP Navneet Rana and her husband independent MLA Ravi Rana have made national headlines over the Hanuman Chalisa row in Maharashtra. The duo has challenged to recite the mantra outside Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray’s ancestral house ‘Matoshree’, the plans of which were foiled by Shiv Sena workers with instances of violence over the row. On Sunday, Navneet Rana and her husband Ravi were detained at the Khar Police station after some Shiv Sena leaders had filed an FIR against them.

However, beyond their recent manoeuvrings in challenging the Shiv Sena, the Ranas wield considerable power from their turf Amravati, the biggest city in Vidarbha after Nagpur.

Amravati’s Flex Kumar meets Southern film Diva

Ravi Rana, 43, rose to power as a youth leader in the Amravati, often known for his calm demeanour. Rana has been winning the Badnera seat as an Independent MLA since 2009. He enjoys distinctive support from the youth, which helped him defeat a powerful NCP candidate while securing his rise as an Independent politician from the constituency. As one enters Amravati, Rana’s posters and life-sized cutouts are hard to miss – a practice that owed him the title ‘Flex Kumar’.

Rana’s penchant for Yoga as an enthusiast made him organise Ramdev Baba’s Shivirs many a time in the city. In one such Yog Shivir in Mumbai, he met Navneet Kaur, a multilingual actress from the Southern films. Brought up in Mumbai in a Punjabi household, Kaur started her career on the silver screen with the 2004 Kannada film ‘Darshan’ in a lead role. Apart from Kannada, she has worked in Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Punjabi and Hindi movies alongside veterans like Mammoomty, Jr NTR and others. The duo engaged in wedlock in a mass wedding ceremony in 2011, blessed by Swami Ramdev himself.

The Independent candidature

While Ravi Rana had already secured a mass base in Badnera as a member of the state legislative assembly, it was now for Navneet to enter Politics in 2014. Despite her husband’s continued conflicts with Sharad Pawar’s NCP, she managed to bag an Aghadi (former NCP+Congress alliance) ticket to challenge Shiv Sena’s Anandrao Adsul which she lost against him. Rana confessed to having lost against Adsul because of the prevalent Modi wave in 2014. In 2019, she again contested independently against Adsul, now backed by the Congress and the NCP externally and defeated the Shiv Sena candidate with a huge margin.

Amravati, which had been a Shiv Sena bastion for 25 years, was now taken over by the Ranas in the state legislative assembly as well as on the National level, with Navneet Rana winning the Loksabha seat. Since then, the duo enjoys support from local youth, women and the Adivasi population in the region. Today, Ravi Rana enjoys the monicker of being called ‘Mama’ while Navneet Rana has become the ‘Vahini’ (sister-in-law) among the local populace.

Snide with the Shiv Sena and The Hindutva Push

The Ranas derive their ire against the Shiv Sena and the NCP from the challenge posed by local party candidates in their respective constituencies. In 2019, after the assembly elections, Navneet Rana had openly expressed her pleasure with Devendra Fadnavis taking oath as a Chief Minister with the support of Ajit Pawar from the NCP. With the Hanuman Chalisa agitation, Navneet and Ravi Rana have successfully enlarged their leadership to a national context, emerging as a challenge to the ruling parties in Maharashtra other than the BJP.

In 2021, Navneet Rana filed a complaint against Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant with Loksabha speaker Om Birla, accusing him of threatening her saying, “Let me see how you roam around in Mumbai, will put you in jail too.” In return, her political rival Adsul accused Rana of fudging her caste certificate to contest the Amravati Lok Sabha seat. The Ranas’ conflict with the Shivsena is deeper than it looks, all stemming from their test to preserve their local relevance in Amravati’s politics. Apart from their dwindling political stances, the duo is often seen forwarding BJP-sympathetic propositions in both the houses.

Navneet Rana openly celebrated the abrogation of Article 370 and the cause of Ram Mandir in Lok Sabha. Besides this, she is known for her argumentative speeches in the house, with a hardliner will to implement central government policies on roads, infrastructure, water and sanitation, and electricity in her constituency. Rana looks forward to hosting PM Narendra Modi in her turf, to preside over the inauguration of an infrastructure project or a two in Amravati.

Source- www.opindia.com

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