Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut, has been making headlines ever since the results of the 21 October Maharashtra Assembly elections in which the BJP emerged as the single-largest party by securing 105 seats. The other large chunks of seats in the 288-member Assembly, were won by the Shiv Sena (56), Congress (44) and NCP (54). But since the ruling party at the Centre missed the required 145-mark to stake claim to government, Maharashtra has been throw into a power tussle as allies BJP and Shiv Sena fight for the post of chief minister.
Raut, who is emerging as the official ‘negotiator’ of the Shiv Sena party has been frontlining talks between political parties amid the political deadlock in the state over staking claim to form the next government.
The senior Sena leader has been seen holding meetings with NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, meeting the governor, reiterating the power 50:50 power sharing demand, and is also seen as the spokesperson of Matoshree. As Uddhav Thackeray's spokesperson, his editorials in party mouthpiece Saamana are considered the party's stand on issues.
Here a quick lowdown on some of the comments Raut has made so far, amid the political crisis in the state.
'If BJP not keeping promise, no point continuing alliance'
Raut on Monday said if the BJP was not willing to fulfil its promise of sharing the chief minister's post in Maharashtra, there was no point in continuing the alliance.
These statements come a day after Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari invited the Shiv Sena to stake claim to form government, Raut told reporters that the BJP "insulted" people's mandate by not abiding to the "50:50" formula which, he claimed, was decided before the Lok Sabha polls. The BJP on Sunday announced it would not form government in the state and accused the Shiv Sena of "disrespecting" people's mandate secured by the NDA in the recent Assembly polls.
He also said that when the BJP could tie up with the People's Democratic Party (PDP) to form government in the then Jammu and Kashmir state, why could the Sena not do the same with the NCP and Congress in Maharashtra.
"The BJP's arrogance that it would sit in the Opposition but not share the chief minister's post has led to this situation... if the BJP is not willing to implement its promise, then there is no meaning in staying with the alliance," the Rajya Sabha member said.
He also took a dim view of the governor giving 72 hours to the BJP to stake the claim, but just 24 hours to the Uddhav-led party. Reaching out to the Opposition parties, he said the
Congress and NCP should bury their internal differences to come up with a 'common minimum programme' in the interest of Maharashtra.
Shiv Sena not in ‘politics of trade’
Raut on Sunday said his party would declare its next strategy once no one else is able to form government in Maharashtra, and asserted that politics was not a trade for his party.
Without taking names of any individuals or parties, he said the bubble of being "invincible" has burst and the arrogance of "buying" a politician to form the government will no longer work in the state. The Shiv Sena "will step in" if no one forms government, Raut told reporters.
BJP is creating situation of President's Rule in Maharashtra
The Rajya Sabha MP, has also slammed the BJP over various issues regarding the ongoing stalemate. He accused the party of delaying the process of government formation and creating a situation for the imposition of President's Rule. In his tirade against the BJP, Raut claimed that the party is pushing Maharashtra towards President’s Rule.
Addressing a press conference, Raut, who has become the public voice of the party's new-found belligerence during the last fortnight, said, "Threats and blackmailing won't work now."
He added that the BJP should make a declaration if it is unable to form the government and then the Shiv Sena will take further steps. Stating the Shiv Sena's demand for sharing the chief minister's post, he said the state's chief minister will be from the Uddhav Thackeray-led party only.
"You will know on the floor of the House. We have the numbers," he claimed. "Why did the BJP leaders who met the governor today not stake a claim? Why did they return empty-handed? They want to create a situation for the imposition of President's Rule. The BJP does not have the numbers," he said.
Raut also criticised state minister and BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar for saying that chief minister Devendra Fadnavis is "like a Shiv Sainik". "If you think you are from the Shiv Sena, behave like a member of the party. For the Shiv Sena, the given word is very important. For us it is like 'pran jaaye par vachan na jaaye' (promise has greater value than life). The BJP should show it has 145 MLAs in its support and form the government", he said.
"When you say the mandate is for 'Mahayuti', the mandate is also for what was agreed upon when the alliance was formalised. The mandate is for having a Shiv Sena chief minister," he said. Earlier in the morning, Raut said there have been no talks yet between RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and Uddhav on government formation in the state.
He also expressed confidence that MLAs of the Sena, and the Opposition Congress and NCP "would not cross sides".
Fadnavis dismisses 50:50 formula: Sena strikes back, says 'have other options'
After Devendra Fadnavis broke his silence on the ongoing power tussle, Sena leader Sanjay Raut responded saying that the Maharashtra chief minister was "wrong" when he denied about 50-50 formula. Devendra Fadnavis had refused Shiv Sena's demand for a 50:50 share of power and said no rotational formula for the chief ministerial post was agreed upon when the alliance was formalised.
"Fadnavis is wrong when he says there was no agreement on 50:50. We are not those people who run after power, but the 50:50 agreement was done between both the parties in front of the media," Raut said.
"Uddhav Thackeray ji has said we have other options too, but we don't want to do the sin of accepting that alternative...the Shiv Sena has practiced politics of truth. The party is not hungry for power," Raut told reporters in Mumbai.
When asked about the delay in government formation in Maharashtra despite the BJP-Sena alliance, he said, "There is no Dushyant Chautala in Maharashtra whose father is in jail."
He was making a reference to Haryana's deputy chief minister and Jannayak Janta Party chief Dushyant Chautala.
Raut had said his party should not be compelled to look for an alternative to form the next government and asserted there are "no saints in politics".
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Nov 11, 2019 12:39:32 IST