For the first time in 20 years: Union Minister gets arrested for his remarks against the Chief Minister!

Maharashtra state police have on Tuesday unfolded an unprecedented drama after arresting a Union Minister for making remarks that threatened Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. The news of the arrest of a Union Minister had drawn huge attention across the nation and the event had triggered a fresh tussle between the BJP and Shiv Sena in the midst of the ongoing feud between both the factions. 

According to reports, Union Minister Narayan Rane, who was inducted into the Union cabinet in the recently held cabinet overhaul, was arrested on Tuesday by the Maharashtra police and after being taken into custody, the Union Minister was taken to the Sangameshwar police station. Rane was taken into custody by police in the coastal Ratnagiri district, where he was travelling as part of the Jan Ashirwad Yatra. The arrest was due to his remarks against the Chief Minister. 

While speaking in Raigad district on Monday, Rane had claimed that Uddhav Thackeray had forgotten the year of Independence during his August 15 address to the people. The Union Minister said, "It is shameful that the Chief Minister does not know the year of Independence and he leaned back to enquire about the count of years of independence during his speech. If I had been there, I would have given him (the Chief Minister) a tight slap." Rane's threatening remarks that he would slap the Chief Minister had drawn major flak from the cadres of Shiv Sena. 

However, Rane had on Tuesday defended his remarks against Thackeray and said that he hasn't committed any crime by making them. Responding to the media reports that he may get arrested, Rane claimed that he hasn't done any crime and urged the media to verify the news failing which he will file a complaint against the media agencies. He said, "The media is showing speculative news about my imminent arrest, despite not committing any crime. Do you think I am an ordinary man?".

Rane has sparked protests across the state through his remarks of slapping the Chief Minister as the youth wing of Shiv Sena had staged protests in various cities against the Union Minister, who was also the former Chief Minister of Maharashtra. The cadres of Shiv Sena had slapped the posters of Rane with their footwear in Pune and the Sena workers had ransacked the BJP office in Amaravati and fired the BJP posters in the office in protest against Narayan Rane. 

As the Sena workers had protested against Rane, hundreds of BJP cadres had gathered outside the residence of Rane in Santacruz to show their support to the Union Minister. Heavy police security was also deployed outside Rane's residence to counter the grounds of untoward incidents. The BJP had reacted sharply to the protests carried out by the Sena workers and assured that the party stands with Rane. Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis said the BJP does not support Rane's comments but the party stands behind him 100 per cent. 

Fadnavis, who was Uddhav Thackeray's predecessor, has alleged that the state police force is being used as a tool for vendetta politics and he said that there should be law and order and not governance like the Taliban. Maharashtra BJP President Chandrakant Patil said, "I am not defending Rane's comments and I will also not express regret." On the other hand, Shiv Sena MP Vinayak Raut had written a letter to Prime Minister Modi demanding the latter to expel Rane from the cabinet for his remarks against the Maharashtra Chief Minister. Raut noted that Rane's remark is also an insult to the Prime Minister of this country. 

Speaking to the reporters, Raut has said Rane should resign from the Modi ministry and stated that Rane has been attacking Shiv Sena and its leaders to impress the BJP leadership and added that the Union Minister had lost his mental balance after his induction into the Modi cabinet. It must be noted that Narayan Rane has been serving as the Union Minister for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises and had become the first Central minister to get arrested in twenty years. Besides protests, three FIRs have been filed against Rane in Pune, Nashik, and Mahad and to challenge these FIRs, Rane had approached the Bombay High Court and sought anticipatory bail from getting arrested. 

The petition was mentioned before a division bench of Justices SS Shinde and NJ Jamadar, seeking an urgent hearing on Tuesday. Rane's lawyer told the court that the police have arrived to arrest him and they are waiting at his doorstep. However, the high court had refused to hear the petition and asked the lawyer to follow the procedure. The court said, "File an application before the Registry seeking urgent hearing and then we will consider. Everyone has to go through the process. Don't make us do the job of the Registry." Rane's anticipatory bail petition was also rejected following which the police had arrested him and taken him under custody.