Union Home Minister Amit Shah called up Union MSME Minister Narayan Rane for an account of the developments leading to his arrest and bail following the “slap” remark against Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.

BJP MLA Nitesh Rane confirmed that the telephonic conversation between Shah and Rane took place on Thursday.

Nitesh, minister Rane’s younger son, said, “The home minister sought to know from Rane the exact details leading to his arrest and how it was carried out.”

Sources in the BJP said, “The central leadership expressed surprise at Rane’s arrest by state police.” The party leaders had been confident that state government would not be able to arrest Rane. State BJP president Chandrakant Patil had cited protocol, “A Union cabinet minister is higher in rank than the CM. The state government has to adhere to certain procedures and permission from the Centre before taking action against a Union cabinet minister.”

Opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis, who had apprised the Centre about the developments in Maharashtra, said, “Rane’s remark does not qualify as a cognizable offense. Therefore, the arrest was illegal.”

Rane will continue his Jan Ashirwad Yatra from Ratnagiri district on Friday. On Saturday, he will hold the yatra in Sindhudurg district of Konkan region. The yatra will end on Sunday.

BJP MLC and vice-president Prasad Lad asserted, “Rane will complete the yatra as planned.”

The Shiv Sena has said it will oppose the yatra in Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts. Section 144 has been enforced there.

Nitesh Rane said, “We don’t worry about such hurdles. From the first day of the Jan Ashirwad Yatra we are confronting challenges. The government is doing everything possible to create problems in our yatra. Yet, we will go ahead with our plans.”

Minister of State for Home Shambhuraje Desai said, “Rane is a senior leader. He was a CM and is now a Union cabinet minister. He is well versed with the laws.”

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