“Was In ‘Anda’ Cell, Didn’t See Sunrays For 15 Days”: Sanjay Raut To NDTV

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“Will the government arrest only those who are in opposition?” he said.

Mumbai:

Sanjay Raut, senior leader of the Shiv Sena’s Uddhav Thackeray faction and one of the former Chief Minister’s closest aides, today said he lost 10 kgs in weight while in prison. Speaking to NDTV days after being granted bail by a special court in a money laundering case, Mr Raut said he was kept in ‘Anda cell’ where he couldn’t see sunlight for 15 days. I have eyesight issues because of that, he said.

Calling himself a ‘prisoner of war’, Mr Raut claimed he wouldn’t have been arrested if he had surrendered to them (the BJP) or “remained a mute spectator”. 

“I call myself a prisoner of war, the government thinks we are in war with them,” he said, adding that he saw former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh in jail,and he isn’t in good health. Mr Deshmukh has been in jail in an alleged corruption and abuse of power case.

“Will the government arrest only those who are in opposition?” he said.

Sanjay Raut expressed gratitude to the Thackeray family, saying, “whatever I am, I have this because of Balasaheb Thackeray and the Thackeray family”.

On leaders abandoning Uddhav Thackeray to join party rebel and now Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, he said “those who want to leave the party can go, it will survive and keep growing”. He claimed the state’s people are with his party, and only the MLAs and leaders are going for their own benefit.

“Those who have left, they are being controlled by someone else…There is only one Shiv Sena in Maharashtra,” he said, alleging that some people tried to end Shiv Sena.

“If BJP would have contested the Andheri East Bypoll, we would have won with more than 1 lakh votes,” he said.

A day after Uddhav Thackeray said his party disagreed with Congress MP Rahul Gandhi’s criticism of Hindutva ideologue VD Savarkar over mercy petitions to the British during the freedom struggle, Sanjay Raut, one of his closest aides, went a step ahead warning that Mr Gandhi’s remarks could damage the future of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) coalition in Mahrashtra.

“Several Congress leaders spoke to me. Maharashtra Congress leaders also get embarassed by such comments,” he said.

Sanjay Raut, senior leader of the Shiv Sena’s Uddhav Thackeray faction, was speaking to NDTV days after being granted bail by a special court in a money laundering case.

Questioned why his party on the backfoot in the controversy around the Savarkar remarks issue, he said the issue if important to them as they believe in his ideology.

“Savarkar wasn’t the agenda of Bharat Jodo Yatra. They shouldn’t have brought up this issue,” Mr Raut said, adding that people in Maharashtra have faith in Savarkar. 

He then attackef the BJP, accusing the party of trying to appropriate the Hindutva ideologue. “What the BJP is doing, it’s a fraud. Savarkar has never been associated with BJP or RSS…RSS has always criticised Savarkar but now for political benefits, they are speaking about him,” he said.

Sanjay Raut then pointed out that Bal Thackeray followed the ideology of Savarkar, and advised Congress to “keep such topics with yourself”.

“During the NDA government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, topics like Ram temple, Article 370, Uniform Civil Code weren’t used. They kept such issues aside to form the government. We have the same thing for Savarkar. You shouldn’t use such issues,” he added.

The Congress, NCP, and Shiv Sena had come together after the last assembly polls on a common minimum program to for a coalition government in the state. 

The Thackeray family has indicated its intent to keep its relationship with Congress instact, with former minister and Uddhav Thackeray’s son recently seen walking along side Rahul Gandhi when his “Bharat Jodo Yatra” entered Maharashtra.



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