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Maharashtra fiasco: How Sanjay Raut became Shiv Sena’s Mani Shankar Aiyer

Just as Aiyer had unsuccessfully tried to humiliate Narendra Modi by his 'chaiwala' jibes, Sanjay Raut brought in the pre-political professions of the rebel MLAs and referred to them as sabjiwala, paanwala etc. In the end, the elitist snobbery caused the rift between the party leaders to widen further.

As Eknath Shinde takes the oath as the chief minister of Maharashtra, it becomes evident to recall what made the Thackerays in the Shiv Sena look more like the Gandhis in the Congress party. Among many factors, one important point is Shiv Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut playing a Mani Shankar Aiyar for Shiv Sena.

Mani Shankar Aiyar’s infamous attacks that helped Narendra Modi gain support among the masses

Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar is infamously known for the jibe he took at Narendra Modi in 2013 and 2014 when Modi was declared the Prime Minister candidate by the Bharatiya Janata Party. At that time, Mani Shankar Aiyar said that Narendra Modi will not become the Prime Minister of the country, but he can sell tea if he wants. It was an elitist jibe at the then Gujarat CM’s humble background where he used to sell tea in his childhood at Vadnagar station.

After this Chaiwala jibe, Congress lost the Lok Sabha elections in 2014. It was anyways going to lose that election given that the second term of the United Progressive Alliance government was infamous for the corruption cases and the rising popularity of Narendra Modi’s Gujarat model of good governance. But Mani Shankar Aiyar’s Chaiwala remarks made Modi the face of the common hardworking Indian and exposed the elite arrogance of the Congress party and its top leadership. Not only this, but Mani Shankar Aiyar also went on to call Narendra Modi ‘neech’ in 2017.

Sanjay Raut playing Mani Shankar Aiyar for Shiv Sena

Sanjay Raut also used similar abusive language for the Shiv Sena MLAs when they joined the Eknath Shinde camp for taking Hindutva ideology ahead. Just like Mani Shankar Aiyar called Narendra Modi a Chaiwala, referring to Modi selling tea for a livelihood at a very young age, Sanjay Raut also publicly recalled the humble background and hardworking professions of the Shiv Sena MLAs in a derogatory tone.

Sanjay Raut said, “This Gulabrao Patil. Listen to his speeches. He talks like he is the only tiger in Shiv Sena. (abusive words for his mother) He ran away like a coward. He says that I used to run a Pan Shop and the organization made me a cabinet minister. Now, we will make him a Panwala again.”

In the same speech, Sanjay Raut insulted another two Shiv Sena MLAs Sandipan Bhumre and Prakash Surve. Sanjay Raut said, “And that Sandipan Bhumre. He was a watchman in a sugar factory at Paithan when he got the ticket for the first time. It was me who urged Balasaheb Thackeray to replace the stalwart like Moreshwar Save and give the ticket to that watchman. He was a watchman. He was just a watchman. He came to Mumbai for the first time in his life. He did not know how to eat Wada Sambhar in a hotel. He would sit cross-legged on the floor of the hotel and eat Wada Sambhar. We have seen that. He became a cabinet minister and started crying in front of Uddhav Saheb and said that he became a cabinet minister because of the Shiv Sena. Today he proved those tears false.”

Sanjay Raut also insulted Prakash Surve, who once used to sell vegetables for earning his livelihood. Sanjay Raut said, “What was Prakassh Surve? What was he? Tell me. He used to sell vegetables. Let us send him back to sell vegetables again. Today I knew he used to sell rotten vegetables.”

Not only elected representatives, but Sanjay Raut also used to speak very rudely while addressing the media. In one such media briefing, he started saying, “Don’t ask any useless questions. What do you want?” In the same media briefing, he said that the rebel MLAs of Shiv Sena are high on some sort of marijuana and that he does not know what exactly they are fed.

Sanjay Raut not only insulted the Shiv Sena MLAs for their humble backgrounds. He also went on to threaten them which underlined the arrogance of the top leadership of Shiv Sena. Sanjay Raut said, during the 10 days of the coup in Shiv Sena, that Shiv Sainiks are waiting for his orders to come to the streets against the rebel MLAs. He also said that the MLAs are there in Guwahati but their dead bodies will only come back to Maharashtra and then there will be a postmortem done on those dead bodies.

Sanjay Raut often took jibes at opponents, and rebel MLAs and used poetic couplets and rhyming gimmicks to put his points. When rebel MLAs were living in a hotel in Guwahati, Sanjay Raut tweeted, “Kab take chhipoge Gohati mein, Aana hi padega Chaupati mein.” It means, “Till when will you hide in Guwahati. You are bound to come to Chaupati.” Chaupati refers to beaches in Mumbai.

Even after Uddhav Thackeray resigned as the chief minister of the state, Sanjay Raut kept his vague talks going on. He said, “Shiv Sena is not made for power. In fact, it is the power that is made for Shiv Sena.” It was Sanjay Raut’s arrogance that seems to have widened the rift in the party. Even after Uddhav Thackeray’s resignation, Shiv Sena MLAs in the Eknath Shinde camp said that they are hurt as no action is taken against Sanjay Raut who used abusive words for them and their family members.

In this way, Sanjay Raut’s blabbering has cost more to Shiv Sena than a passive chief minister and supreme party leader like Uddhav Thackeray. Sanjay Raut ended up playing the same role for Shiv Sena as Mani Shankar Aiyar has played for the Congress.

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