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'Tiger' Tamed? The Reason Behind Sanjay Raut's Surprise Praise for Fadnavis

By: News Desk

Edited By: Jessica Jani

News18.com

Last Updated: November 12, 2022, 13:15 IST

Mumbai, India

Reacting to Raut’s release, former minister Aaditya Thackeray had said, 'The tiger is back. He was put in jail, but he didn’t flee.'
(File pic/PTI)

Reacting to Raut’s release, former minister Aaditya Thackeray had said, 'The tiger is back. He was put in jail, but he didn’t flee.' (File pic/PTI)

The hardliner, who is a staunch BJP critic, was released on bail on Wednesday three months after his arrest in an alleged money laundering case

A day after release from Mumbai’s Arthur Road Jail, Senior Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) leader Sanjay Raut on Thursday surprised everyone when he uncharacteristically praised Devendra Fadnavis and the Eknath Shinde-led Maharashtra Government.

“A new govt was formed in Maharashtra, I welcome some of their good decisions. Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadanvis took some good decisions. We feel that the state is being run by Deputy Chief Minister Fadnavis and he is leading the state," he told reporters, adding he will be meeting Fadnavis in “2-4 days related to the work of people."

“I will not criticise or speak against anyone, be it central agencies or the government. My party and I have suffered. We won’t oppose anyone just for the sake of opposing. If they have done good work, we will appreciate and welcome them," he added.

The hardliner, who is a staunch BJP critic, was released on bail on Wednesday three months after his arrest in an alleged money laundering case linked to a housing project in suburban Goregaon. Shortly after his release, he visited the Siddhivinayak Temple, a Hanuman temple in south Mumbai and the Bal Thackeray memorial in Shivaji Park.

Raut’s statements on Thursday led many to question whether it was an attempt at reconciliation with the BJP, or a strategic move to avoid confrontation with the Centre, as his case is still open.

Despite this, his loyalty to Uddhav Thackeray’s Sena faction is clear as he visited the former CM and his son Aaditya Thackeray on Thursday itself. Speaking to the media, Raut said the former chief minister stood by his family members while he was in jail and that “every second" of his life was dedicated to the Sena.

The Rajya Sabha member claimed his arrest was political and that such kind of “vendetta politics" was not seen in the country earlier. However, he refrained from accusing the central agencies. “I will not blame any central agencies," he said.

Talking to reporters, Raut said the Shiv Sena faction led by Uddhav Thackeray was the “real" party that was founded by the late Bal Thackeray. He said the revolt in the party led by Eknath Shindi which led to a change in government in June, was temporary.

‘Negotiation’ with BJP?

Meanwhile, sources said that Raut’s shift in stance indicated some kind of “negotiations between him and the BJP" as per a report by Indian Express.

“Raut has been in jail for over 100 days. He obviously does not wish to be in that atmosphere, even as the court made observations in his favour. It just seems like it is his strategy to avoid confrontation between him and the BJP or with Shinde faction, with his case still pending,” a leader said, as per the report.

However, the Eknath Shinde-led faction believes the move spells Raut’s own “personal agenda" and questioned his relationship with Thackeray.

“On the one hand, Uddhav Thackeray is criticising the BJP and alleging that the Central agencies are targeting Opposition parties. Then there is Raut who is praising Fadnavis. This shows that something is amiss between them,” said Kiran Pawaskar, the spokesperson of Eknath Shinde-led Babasahebanchi Shiv Sena, as per the report.

“Raut may be trying to avoid confrontation to buy some time to analyse the situation before making his first move. This way, he will have time to gauge what all transpired in while he was in jail. Putting everyone in confusion and then making a move when the Opposition has its defences down, could also be his strategy,” another senior party leader was quoted as saying by the Indian Express.

Amidst all this, Raut’s support for the Thackerays and vice versa has been clear. “The saffron flag which has been fluttering atop the BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation) for the last 30 to 35 years will continue. Those who dare to touch it will be reduced to ashes with the ‘maashal’ (Uddhav Thackeray faction’s symbol of flaming torch)," he told reporters on Thursday.

Reacting to Raut’s release, Shiv Sena (UBT) leader and former minister Aaditya Thackeray had said, “The tiger is back. He was put in jail, but he didn’t flee the way 40 “traitors" fled (a reference to rebel Sena MLAs)."

(With inputs from agencies)

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first published:November 12, 2022, 13:07 IST
last updated:November 12, 2022, 13:15 IST
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