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Nitesh Narayanrao Rane

Affiliation: Bharatiya Janata Party and Swabhiman Sanghatana (NGO)
Vocation/Title: Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) of the State of Maharashtra
Location: Kankavali, Maharashtra

Nitesh Narayanrao Rane is a politician from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He serves as a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for the Kankavali assembly constituency in the state of Maharashtra. He is the son of the state’s former Chief Minister and the current Minister of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in the Modi government. Following the merger of his father’s party, the Maharashtra Swabhiman Paksha, with the Bharatiya Janata Party in October 2019, Rane joined the BJP and won the election from the Kankavali assembly constituency.

Rane’s political career has been marked by controversies, including an accusation of attempted murder. In 2010, a Muslim small-business owner named Chintu Shaikh filed a police report alleging that Rane and his associates had fired shots at him and vandalized his shop. Although the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) cleared Rane in 2012, the case remains pending in court, with Shaikh contending that Rane received favorable treatment due to his political connections.

In July 2023, Rane used derogatory slurs while targeting his political opponent, Uddhav Thakrey, leading to a significant outcry and protests by the transgender community and others. 

During the Sakal Hindu Samaj’s Jan Akrosh Morcha in Solapur, Maharashtra, in June 2023, several individuals, including Rane, issued threats of violence and genocide against Muslims. Rane openly made death threats to Muslims in a widely circulated speech, stating, “If anyone dares to praise [Muslim emperor] Aurangzeb, we will send them to the graveyard.”

Similarly, in September 2023, in Maharashtra’s Pune district, Rane delivered another inflammatory speech before a crowd of thousands, threatening Muslims with large-scale violence. He declared, “When we start pulling them (Muslims) out, then our police brothers will also support us. Ask us how much the police helped us after the [Babri Masjid demolition] riots. We have the experience. Don’t have fun in front of us, you don’t know our history. Go and see Ram Mandir has started there. You used to have fun like this in the name of Babri Masjid too.”

In the presence of police officers surrounding him, Rane threatened to attack mosques, stating, “How many police personnel will there be in those premises – maybe one hundred, and how many are we? If we enter inside (the mosque), we will get everyone out with swollen faces. How much time will it take us?”

While referring to Muslims as ‘Jihadis’ and outsiders, he asserted that India is a ‘Hindu Rashtra’ (Hindu nation), meant exclusively for Hindus. He declared, “India is a Hindu Rashtra. If eighty percent of people living here are Hindus… then why do you pamper Jihadis?”