Choosing to go alone, former Maharashtra Chief Minister Narayan T Rane on Sunday floated a new political outfit, Maharashtra Swabhiman Party, which would work for the overall and all-inclusive development of the state.
The aggressive leader from the coastal Konkan region, who was earlier with Shiv Sena and then for 12 years with the Congress, kept political circles guessing whether he would join the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance or not.
"The motto of the MSP shall be fulfilling all our commitments and work for the interests of the people of the state. After setting up the party organization, we shall decide on our future course including allying with the NDA," Rane said.
Though he sharply criticised the ruling ally Shiv Sena, he supported the much-maligned bullet train proposal on grounds that it was "a development project" which was necessary just like mobile phones.
Rane was the Chief Minister for nearly one year (1999) in the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance which ruled the state between 1995-1999, later he served as Opposition Leader before quitting the party to join the Congress in 2005 which he left last month.
The birth of the MSP marking his third political inning was welcomed with the bursting of firecrackers, beating of drums and processions in his home district Sindhudurg and other parts.
Since past few months, speculation was rife that Rane was planning to switch over to the BJP and had even met BJP President Amit Shah, state BJP chief Raosaheb Patil-Danve and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on several occasions.
With the MSP entering the fray, the Maharashtra political landscape vying for the Maharashtrian votes became further crowded with the BJP, Shiv Sena, Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, Republican Party of India, several local and state-level parties, besides other national parties having their state units here.