VALPOI: In a setback to the BJP, Deepaji Rane, executive member of State BJP Committee, on Wednesday filed his nomination papers as an independent candidate for the October 18 bye-election for Valpoi constituency.
Rane filed his nomination before Returning Officer Raju Gawas, who was assisted by Mamlatdar Satish Dessai and Joint Mamlatdar Trupti Rane.  Rane’s action has surprised everyone in Valpoi, as Deepaji is the executive member of State BJP committee.
Rane, who was the former sarpanch of Pissurlem Panchayat, had unsuccessfully contested against Pratapsing Rane in Poriem constituency in 1999 elections and had polled 3,000 votes.
The soft-spoken and a very gentle person Mr. Deepaji is well known in Satari having worked for BJP for over two decades. He was also the president of BJP Poriem Unit few years ago.
Addressing a press conference at Valpoi late Wednesday evening, Deepaji Rane informed that he does not want to disclose his strategy or purpose of contesting the election at this point of time, but would announce his strategy after October 4.
“I am contesting the election in my individual capacity and I am still a BJP worker,” stated Rane.  He further stated that he is not contesting against the BJP candidate, but against Congress candidate.
“I am fighting the election on two issues, employment and environment conservation,” he added. Rane, who is associated with social and cultural organisation, besides politics, disclosed that he had intimated senior BJP leaders before filing his nomination.
When contacted, former deputy speaker Narhari Aldoncar said there is no ‘rift’ in BJP.
“Deepaji Rane has filed his nomination in his personal capacity as Independent and party cannot prevent him in doing so,” Aldoncar said.
However, rumours are doing round that it is a BJP strategy and Deepaji Rane has acted as per the direction of some senior BJP leaders and the picture would be clear only after October 4.
Meanwhile, BJP President Valpoi Unit Narayan Gawas has also filed his nomination on Wednesday evening as a dummy candidate for BJP candidate Santosh Aldoncar.
In all, there are only three candidates, who will contest the bye-election, Vishwajeet Congress, Santosh Aldoncar BJP and Deepaji Rane Independent.


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