Who is Sanjay Raut’s tirade against ? Will he introspect??

PM Modi-Sanjay Raut-CM Thackeray

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Light of Hope” campaign imposed a three-week nationwide lockdown from March 25, asked all citizens to turn off their lights for nine minutes at 9pm local time on Sunday and to display lamps and candles in a show of solidarity against COVID-19. Modi’s call was met with a huge response, found support across various walks of life, from billionaire industrialists to roadside dwellers in tents to fight another kind of war, yet the Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha member and its spokesman, Sanjay Raut, still finds fault with Modi and the BJP. Raut took a sharp jibe at Modi over his appeal to the nation to hold candles, lamps and mobile flashlights on Sunday night in a show of solidarity amid the coronavirus crisis, and said he hopes “they” don’t burn down their own homes.

Not only Modi, Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray too shared photos of himself lighting a diya (clay lamp). PM Modi tweeted in Sanskrit, ‘Salute to the light of the lamp which brings auspiciousness, health and prosperity, which destroys negative feelings’. When all the states across the country, including anti-BJP ruled ones are supporting Modi in this battle against COVID-19, Raut’s trend of finding fault with Modi continues. The irony is that when his leader and the chief minister Uddhav Thackeray is praising the initiatives of Modi, including the Sunday’s “lit-light” campaign, Raut is “polluting” the political atmosphere,

Raut even found fault with Modi on the issue of Tabligi Jamaat’s meeting at Nizamuddin in Delhi that responsible for infecting of nearly 35% of positive COVID-19 patients in the country.

In an editorial in Saamana, the mouthpiece of Shiv Sena, Raut mocked Modi by saying that the war against coronavirus cannot be won by clapping, clanging of plates or lighting of lamps. Taking a dim view of Modi’s appeals, Article states that , “Claps, thalis and lights…like this we will lose the war…either the PM cannot communicate with citizens or he himself wants such a festive atmosphere, the editorial ridiculed Modi and virtually termed him as a “bad commander.” We lost the Panipat battle because of rumours and lack of planning. The war against coronavirus should not end up like that and people of the state shouldn’t meet the fate of Sadashivrao bhau (Maratha army commander in Panipat battle),” the editorial said and asked, “Those who don’t obey should be punished. It is not that only Markaz (referring to Tablighi Jamaat’s congregation in Delhi last month) breaks rules. Are those blaming the Markaz for the coronavirus spread themselves maintaining discipline and social distancing?”

B. Raut’s such stand on Tablighi Jamaat surprised many as even the Maharashtra Home minister, Anil Deshmukh, who belongs to NCP, said that Markaz’s Jamaat was mostly responsible for infecting positive cases of Corona in the state and warned that Jamaat people who are now hiding after attending the Delhi meeting, should approach the authorities for testing and quarantine or face legal actions.

But the question is that why the Rajya Sabha member is spitting venom at Prime Minister Modi and his party again and again in recent past and at a time when there is a need to show solidarity with the government in this time of crisis. Modi himself spoke to chief minister Uddhav Thackeray to discuss the state’s preparedness to tackle the novel coronavirus outbreak and assured all necessary help from the Centre to prevent the outbreak. Besides, the prime minister also accepted Thackeray’s suggestion and asked all chief ministers to speak to religious leaders from their respective states and ask them to tell the community members about the need for social distancing and avoiding large gatherings. Thus, from a reluctant politician, Uddhav Thackeray has emerged as a general leading the fight against Covid-19.

Moreover, the opposition party, the BJP and its leader Devendra Fadnavis is also supporting Thackeray government for its efforts to tackle the deadly virus and is refraining himself from negative politics.

It was said that Raut is upset after being side-lined within the party and the newspaper, the Sena mouthpiece Saamana that he has been editing for over two decades. Raut, who claims to be a family loyalist, is the person who comes out as a real loser in the whole political horizon after the alliance government was set up in the state under the leadership of Thackeray. First, his brother was put out of cabinet despite his best efforts, later he was snubbed by the party for remarks against Indira Gandhi and the Thackeray family disowned his statements, and now he has been kept away from the chief editor post too.

The Rajya Sabha member, Raut crafted the tri-party alliance in the hope that he will be number two in the party and the government, but, the position of number two in the government is now being enjoyed by Ajit Pawar and in the party by Rashmi Thackeray after she was named as the editor of Saamana.

Loyalists of Mrs Thackeray claimed that it was not Raut, but Rashmi Thackeray who not only played an instrumental role in not just crafting the alliance with ‘secular’ parties, but is also responsible for convincing Uddhav Thackeray to accept the CM post, Uddhav not being a very political person and not a typical power-hungry politician. Like a shrewd politician, she cut down Sanjay Raut to size and positioned herself as number two in the party. Given the fact Uddhav Thackeray is busy in looking after government affairs, Rashmi is actually managing day today affairs of the party. And she had made this very clear to the people as well as other party leaders through her appointment as the chief editor of Saamana- the position once held by Bal Thackeray himself and later by Uddhav Thackeray. It been said that Mrs Thackeray’s private secretary is now running the actual show and all affairs of Saamana and Raut is now the editor in name only.

On the other hand, CM Uddhav Thackeray is also gradually distancing himself from Raut’s present “political mentor” and dismissed that he is a “puppet in the hands of Pawar”. It’s the time for Raut to introspect on why he was “side-lined” from his own party that gave him a national reputation and even made him party leader in the Rajya Sabha.

The Sena Rajya Sabha member should also understand that when many Western governmental leaders, including the voluble US President Donald Trump, have fatally doled out mixed messages of trying to save both livelihoods and lives, PM Modi took the great big step of clarity needed to fight this COVID-19 war effectively. That’s the courage to enforce a virtual curfew on the entire country and ensure “social distancing” – when the death toll was just nine on March 24. The economy was frozen, and 130-crore people suffered unprecedented inconveniences. If Modi had miscalculated and the results had gone wrong, there is no way India would have stayed home the way it did. No way would India have readied to light candles cheerfully at night 10 days later. Positivity helps even from the light of a humble candle. Wars need sacrifices, harsh costs to pay. Wars need the strength of mind to face losses – and fight on. Hope is the starting point to fight the way through to better times, the normalcy of days – even the hope from candles lit up in a shared darkness. I hope that wisdom prevails on Raut Saheb and he shall introspect on it in the coming days! He should realise this not the time to settle scores but to unite and fight against this pandemic…