“Moden pan Vaknar Nahi,” this quote is synonymous with several Shiv Sainiks fighting for the Marathi Pride across the country. Evolving from the ideals laid down by Shri Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the brainchild of Balasaheb Thackeray has developed a significant political position and captured the hearts of many. Starting with a mass agitation movement to ensure the preferential treatment of the Marathi community, the party has matured into a right-wing Marathi regional and Hindu Nationalist political party with a powerful hold over Maharashtra and the Bollywood as well! Being a fierce protector of their community, some say this extremist party is responsible for toppling governments, instigating riots and creating chaos across the country. It is evident that this humongous force is spearheaded by a select few key players of this organization. However, is there more to this than what meets the eye?
Looking back at this illustrious party, certain prominent figures creep out of the shadows. One such eternally powerful and integral member of the party is Rajya Sabha MP and Shiv Sena Leader Shri Sanjay Raut. With a loyal and strong opinionated personality, Raut has risen through the ranks and is associated with the party’s public image. Running errands for the Thackeray’s since the 80s’, Raut learned at the hands of Balasaheb Thackeray and boosted his career from a ghostwriter, to a journalist for Marmik and finally as the Chief Editor for Sena’s Mouthpiece – Saamna. Several brawls arose between this young leader and the Head of Shiv Sena which in fact laid a foundation built on trust and understanding. Many in the political circles comment that, ‘Raut’s editorials speak Uddhav’s language,’ and this is essential to the party to put forth their opinion while keeping political and diplomatic integrity. The right-hand man of this party gave other candidates a run for their money when he got elected to the Rajya Sabha in 2004 and resumed his third term in 2016, while turning into a prominent leader of the party.
This seems to paint a rosy picture of the leader which may be far from reality. This RS MP is considered to be constantly in the limelight for numerous controversies in the past 2-3 decades. This makes one wonder why? To give a brief idea to the readers, in August 2020 he tarnished the image of Bollywood regarding Sushant Singh Rajput’s death, moving on in September 2020 he compared Ahmedabad to mini Pakistan and is currently involved in a verbal spat with Kangana Ranaut. Apart from these, several such apparent politically incorrect statements have gone undetected over the past years which have played a fundamental role in igniting communal sentiments. He was also the Chief Negotiator of the Maha Vikas Aghadi and has been harshly condemned by the opposition. His so-called chauvinist statements stand in stark contrast with the party ideals, which further throw light on the irony within the party since it recently appointed this vocal leader as their Chief spokesperson.
Indeed, it all comes down to these burning questions, is Sanjay Raut irreplaceable for the party, or why hasn’t the honorable Chief minister reined him in despite the conflicts?
The answer to this lies in the question. Over the years, Mr. Raut has cultivated an image and a personality as the vocal mouthpiece of Shiv Sena and a staunch supporter of the indigenous Marathi population. It is believed that he learnt an important lesson of generating political nuisance value quite early on in his stay at the party. It can be said that whenever Raut feels his position or influence in the party is being threatened, he takes out his personal ‘Brahmastra’. He openly makes a bold statement or two to remind the chief of various political aspects in the party. People like Raut are a need for a party to stay in the limelight. He has been reprimanded several times by their allies including the inner circle of the party but all in vain. This key value generated by him is of utmost importance to the ruling party since it acts as a deciding factor for coalitions, for shaping public opinion, as well as vote bank politics. Sanjay Raut has served 2 generations in the party and has been able to convey their ideologies well and as the party gears up for the third generation to take over, a change of regime amidst them is evident. Moreover, as the organisation struggles to build a new name and pull away from the extremist ideals, the experience of a Veteran like Raut will be pivotal in the upcoming years.
“I am not Chanakya. I am a Shiv Sena warrior” – Sanjay Raut
- Gole, E. (2020, September 09). Sanjay Raut Promoted: The Man Leading Sena Charge Against Kangana. Retrieved September 28, 2020, from https://www.thequint.com/news/india/sanjay-raut-profile-appointed-shiv-sena-chief-spokesperson-kangana-ranaut-tussle-maharashtra-government
- Joshi, S. (2020, January 21). What keeps Sanjay Raut in the news? Retrieved September28,2020,fromhttps://www.dailyo.in/politics/sanjay-raut-uddhav-thackeray-bal-thackeray-shiv-sena-maha-vikas-aghadi-saamna/story/1/32386.html