Sanjay Raut, the man who crafted the unlikely alliance between Shiv Sena, NCP, and Congress, is not happy with the government, as his brother, Sunil Raut, a two term MLA- did not get a ministerial berth in the Uddhav Thackeray’s cabinet.
In the last few weeks, Raut has made many statements which could cause the fall of alliance. Most of his jibes were targeted at Congress party, which, with only 44 seats, bagged a number of important ministries.
A few days ago, Raut said, “There was a time when Dawood Ibrahim, Chhota Shakeel, Sharad Shetty used to decide who would be the Police Commissioner of Mumbai and who would sit in the ‘Mantralaya’. Indira Gandhi used to go and meet Karim Lala. We’ve seen that underworld, now it’s just ‘chillar’.”
This led to furore from the leaders of Congress party, and Raut was forced to retract his statement and issue a public apology. Om Raut, the Congress MLA from Nagpur, even attacked him by saying that, Congress is not BJP and the party will tolerate the tantrum of Shiv Sena like BJP.
He also irked the Shivaji followers by questioning the former three-term Lok Sabha MP Udayanraje Bhosale, a three term MP who shifted to BJP from NCP and lost the by-election; which angered all parties of the state, as Shivaji’s legacy is claimed by every party and every leader of the state.
He also attacked former chief minister and senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan, who is opposed to Bharat Ratna to Veer Savarkar, by saying that those oppose the Bharat Ratna for Savarkar must be incarcerated for two days at the Cellular Jail in the Andamans, where Savarkar spent more than decade of youth. He also attacked Rahul Gandhi on “My name is not Rahul Savarkar” statement.
With his repeated attacks on Congress party, Raut might force the party to opt out of alliance; and this will lead to the fall of the government in the state, as the Shiv Sena-NCP does not have numbers to prove majority.
Congress was reluctant to join the alliance and it joined the government at the behest of Sharad Pawar, who personally met Sonia Gandhi to discuss the formulation of alliance. If Sanjay Raut keeps attacking Congress, it is highly probable that the party opts out.
Raut and Shiv Sena is of the view that, Congress has been given above its weight in the Uddhav cabinet while the Congress leaders are not happy with the portfolios.
In fact, Congress office in Pune was vandalized by party MLA Sangram Thopte’s supporters. The state Congress chief has openly made statements regarding the dispute over cabinet berths. The only party which looks satisfied to a great extent with the distribution of power is NCP, which got the Deputy CM post for Ajit Pawar as well as finance and rural development ministries for Jayant Patil and Chhagan Bhujbal respectively.
In an editorial, Saamana also admitted that there is tussle among the allies over cabinet berths. “The Cabinet expansion was, indeed, delayed but it finally happened. There were some sparks of disappointment from those who could not make the cut, but the list of probables was huge,” read Shiv Sena mouthpiece.
Raut did not attend the swearing in ceremony of the 36 ministers. The party mouthpiece, Saamana, also criticized the ministerial expansion and opined that original Shiv Sainiks are being ignored at the cost of newcomers and alliance partners. It is important to note here that Sanjay Raut is the Editor in Chief of Saamana, and therefore, the article must have been curated by him.
Raut fashioned himself as a master political strategist after he crafted the alliance deal, and saw himself as number two in the government. He went as far as to suggest that he is crafting strategy to instrument the fall of BJP’s government in Goa. However, as the alliance formed government in power, he could not win even a ministerial position for his brother. And it seems, he is slowly crafting the fall of alliance by constantly attacking Congress.