Half Century
PRATAP Singh Raoji Rane first became an MLA in 1972 when he was elected on MGP ticket. He was appointed as Revenue Minister by Shashikala Kakodkar who had taken over as chief minister after the death of her father Dayanand Bandodkar.
Pratapsingh Rane defected from the BJP along with Dilkush Desai and joined the Congress Party following the collapse of the Shashikala ministry. In the elections that followed the Congress for the first time since Liberation got a clear majority. There was a tussle for the chief minister’s post between Wilfred D’Souza who was GPCC chief and Babu Naik, former industries minister. Then Congress president Indira Gandhi decided on the compromise candidate, a young Pratapsingh Rane.
Pratapsingh Rane served three continuous terms as chief minister till 1992. His government was toppled by Churchill Alemao and a group of seven Congress MLAs led by then speaker Dr Proto Barbosa. Churchill was angry because he was not given sports portfolio which was allotted to his bitter rival Francisco Monte Cruz.
During the language agitation Pratapsingh Rane along with senior Congress MLAs like late Harish Zantye was in favour of equal status for Konkani and Marathi. It was on the insistence of Pratapsingh Rane that Konkani in the devnagri script was made the official language. The Congress High Command had sent special observer R L Bhatia to ensure that Rane kept his promise to get the bill passed.
Rane was a very able administrator. He had complete control over the cabinet. In fact, when he used to talk on the phone to his cabinet colleagues in the secretariat, they used to stand up, call him Sir and answer the phone! Rane did not tolerate the interference of his son Vishwajit in the affairs of the government. Vishwajit himself confessed that his father had told him that he could not order government officers or shout at them!

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