Sanjay Raut, the man who stitched the alliance

Updated: Nov 23, 2019, 08:38 IST | Sanjeev Shivadekar | Mumbai

The Shiv Sena leader was even seen as second-in-line for the CM's post if Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray had declined it

Sanjay Raut is being seen as one of the top contenders for the CM’s post
Sanjay Raut is being seen as one of the top contenders for the CM’s post

Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut's heft in his party is no secret. His hard-hitting editorials in the Sena mouthpiece Saamna are always considered to be the party's line as the then party chief Bal Thackeray made very few speeches. And, his proximity to party president Uddhav Thackeray and his family is such that he was the only leader, from day one after the assembly results were announced, who has been openly talking about the split with the alliance partner if they failed to respect the 50:50 formula.

He was also the first to meet NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Congress leaders on forming a non-BJP government in Maharashtra.

And, until Friday evening, he was even seen as one of the prime contenders for the coveted chief ministerial post in Maharashtra. But, the three-time MP had vehemently rejected the idea.

“The entire state wants Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray to be the CM. My thoughts are no different from them,” said the journalist-turned-politician, who has recently penned several editorials in Saamna against former alliance partner BJP.

Raut, who began his career with a leading Marathi daily in the 1980s, later joined Saamna and meteorically rose in the ranks.

The 58-year-old native of a small village in Alibag, Raigad, made his journey to Mumbai and eventually to New Delhi via Matoshree. He was elected to the Rajya Sabha for the first time in 2004.

Despite being the blue-eyed boy of late Bal Thackeray, his proximity to Raj — the estranged cousin of Uddhav – had made things difficult for him in the party some years ago. He, however, managed to gain the confidence of Uddhav and his family soon after.

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