Is Sanjay Raut being sidelined from the Sena mouthorgan Saamana? Sources in the party claim that the party leadership, after a controversy over the May 1 editorial against Gujaratis, has asked party leader Subhash Desai to create an editorial group to thrash out, write and vet the paper’s edit.
Raut has been writing the editorial in the publication for the past 15 years, including the one where he excoriated the wealthy Gujarati community in the city for ‘exploiting Mumbai like a whore’. (‘Shiv Sena goes on defensive after its offensive on Gujaratis’, mid-day, May 2) But the new system is yet to be firmed up. A leader from the Sena, requesting anonymity, informed us that it would be very difficult for party leaders to sideline Raut because of the long time he has been doing it.
Aaditya Thackeray, chief of party youth wing Yuva Sena, who mostly covered the Gujarati belt of the city to campaign for candidates like Arvind Sawant in South Mumbai and Gajanan Kiritkar in Vile Parle and Juhu, earlier said on Facebook, “As stated in a personal statement by Shiv Sena party president Uddhavji Thackeray, we seek or make no difference between us and the Gujarati community of Mumbai, nor endorse such views by anyone as being those of the official party or the leadership.”
This came a day after Saamana printed a front-page story claiming that Aaditya had supported the editorial on Twitter. But later, the leadership denounced the editorial. He further said, “This is our view and (we) don’t endorse the words of the May 1 editorial: the Gujaratis have been close to Balasaheb Thackeray’s heart and all of us.”
It seems that after this post it was decided that everything would be put in order at the Saamana headquarters in Prabhadevi. Desai, publisher of the paper, has been given the task to chalk out a plan on how to avoid such fiascos in future.
A source close to the Sena leadership said, “After our party leadership came out openly against the editorial, it’s been decided that only one person will not decide upon the edit. There will be a group to decide before the editorial is written.”
Meanwhile, on Monday, the Saamna editorial once against harped on the Hindutva issue, and referred to Bodos as Bhumiputras, and cited the recent riots between Bodos and Muslims as an age-old fight. It said that Congress’s hand is “smeared with the blood of Hindus and suggested that the party go to Ramdev’s Aashram for ‘vipaasana’. There were personal attacks on Kapil Sibal and Sonia Gandhi too.