Independent lawmakers from Maharashtra’s Vidarbha, followers of Yoga guru Ramdev and now in the limelight for planning to chant the Hanuman Chalisa outside ‘Matoshree’ — the private residence of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray — the Rana couple has always hogged headlines.
On Saturday, Shiv Sena workers gathered in large numbers outside the apartment of Navneet Rana and her husband MLA Ravi Rana in Mumbai and shouted slogans after the couple’s “dare”.
Both lawmakers from Vidarbha, Ravi is a three-time Independent MLA from Badnera, while Navneet is a first-time MP from the Amravati (SC) seat. Aged 36, the leaders run the Yuva Swabhiman Party.
Ravi won the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly polls from Badnera in 2009, 2014 and 2019. Between 2014 and 2019, he was close to the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance government run by Devendra Fadnavis, the then chief minister and now leader of the Opposition.
In 2019, when Maharashtra was in the throes of a fractured mandate, Ravi tried to play kingmaker and build up the support of Independents and smaller groups for the BJP. However, it did not succeed fully. A native of Shankarnagar in Amravati, Ravi holds a BCom degree from Amravati College.
Navneet Kaur, meanwhile, is a former actress who won the Lok Sabha seat from Amravati in 2019 by defeating Shiv Sena stalwart Anand Adsul. During the elections, she got support from the NCP and Congress.
Born and brought up in a Punjabi household in Mumbai, Navneet did her schooling at Karthika High School & Junior College. She then took up modelling and appeared in music videos.
The lawmaker made her debut in feature films with Darshan, a Kannada film, which was followed by Seenu Vasanthi Lakshmi, a Telugu movie. These were followed by films like Chetna, Jagapathi, Good Boy, Bhuma and Love in Singapore. She also acted in the Punjabi film Lad Geya Pecha.
The couple married at a mass marriage ceremony on February 3, 2011, in which they were blessed by Ramdev.
On the Maharashtra front, there is no news yet of the Ranas backing out. They are likely to be accompanied by more than 500 activists, planning to chant Hanuman Chalisa. Ravi Rana had challenged Uddhav Thackeray to recite Hanuman Chalisa, failing which he would come and recite it in front of Matoshree.
Navneet Rana said Thackeray is a “binkaam pagari mukhyamantri” (CM getting paid without working), claiming that he didn’t work for the last two-and-a-half-years.