On the other side, former Kannada and Telegu movie star and independent MP Navneet Rana who was the joint candidate of NCP and Amravati Congress in 2019. She defeated a longtime Shiv Sena MP, Anandrao Adsul , a favorite of Uddhav Thackeray and Shiv Sena spokesman Sanjay Raut.
Maybe the Shiv Sena leaders are unable to forgive her for defeating their favorite, but this former actress is still acting. She is accused of falsifying her school and other records to obtain a Scheduled Caste certificate which she does not deserve.
The allegation was first made by Adsul and a police investigation which established the veracity of the allegation led to his bogus caste certificate being quashed by the Bombay High Court, pending appeal to the Supreme Court. But now the Shiv Sena has gone to town because of the fake caste certificate and so her attempts to accuse the cops who arrested her of caste insults against her don’t cut the ice.
If she was not given clean water or allowed to use the toilet, her ordeal was no greater than that of Jesuit priest Stan Swamy, a patient with advanced Parkinson’s disease who was not allowed to drink water through a straw or Gautam Naulakha, also charged. in the case of Bhima Koregaon, who was not allowed to wear glasses after losing his first glasses. Rather inhumane on the part of the authorities in any case but certainly nothing to do with caste prejudice.
However, the use of the couple Rana, whose marriage was arranged by yoga guru Ramdev (both had attended his yoga camps at different times), indicates the desperation of the BJP to clash with the MVA government which seems to instead revealing Teflon character.
The sedition charge leveled against them for attempting to perform the Hanuman Chalisa outside the CM residence has been described as extreme by some, but it was most definitely an attempt to vitiate the atmosphere and create riots in the state.
NCP Chairman Sharad Pawar said the Chief Minister was not an individual but an institution and considering how other people have been charged under the same laws for simply impersonating Narendra Modi, the BJP doesn’t really have a defense here.
Then there’s the fact that Gujarat-born real Dalit MP Jignesh Mewani was arbitrarily arrested by Assam police over an innocuous tweet that didn’t even ridicule Modi, was mistreated by cops and didn’t even whine not like Navneet Rana (nor is her husband Ravi Rana, to be fair, also sent to Taloja prison).
It is surprising, however, that she risked exposing herself by falling back on her false Dalit status – the Bombay High Court has already established the opposite – and may soon find herself on a limb as the BJP lets her down without ceremony once his fraudulent caste certificate proves a political hot potato.
The Ranas are political vagabonds (her husband is an independent MP from Maharashtra) but may have overestimated their stint between the NCP-Congress and the BJP. The Shiv Sena is the only party that has continuously opposed them and given that they run the MVA government, their glass house may soon be in pieces. If the BJP could unceremoniously fire a party MP, an independent supporter could be of no consequence once his term ends.
There is another proverb that suits the Ranas well – that of the rolling stones. As for Somaiya, if he reaches too far for ungrateful rulers like Fadnavis, he may soon find a noose around him.
(Sujata Anandan is the editor of the National Herald Mumbai)