Earning Shiv Sena’s wrath over an anti-Gujarati editorial in Saamana, its editor Sanjay Raut Wednesday alleged that vested interests were spreading rumours about him to “weaken and shut” the party mouthpiece.
Embarrassed over the May 1 editorial, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray was reportedly looking to clip the wings of Raut by deputing two senior leaders, Subhash Desai and Liladhar Dhake, to vet the editorials written by him.
Raut, 52, has an uninterrupted run as the editor of Saamana for 24 years. Interestingly, the controversial article appeared on the day he completed 24 years of association with the paper. “These are rumours that people with vested interest are floating against me. The aim of such people is to weaken Saamana and ensure that it gets shut,” said Raut, also a Rajya Sabha MP.
On reports that Desai and Dhake had been asked to monitor his work, Raut claimed that as publishers and trustees of the Prabodhankar Trust, which runs Saamana, they were already doing that. “Subhash Desai is the publisher of Saamana. Liladhar Dhake is the Trustee of Prabhodhan Trust, which own the paper. They were already involved in the functioning of the paper. We have been working and sitting together for the past two decades,” said Raut. He denied that he was contemplating leaving the Sena.
Desai has claimed that there has not been any change in the functioning of the paper.
Sena sources, meanwhile, claimed the said article was written with the permission of the Thackeray clan. “The broad outline of the article was vetted by the Thackeray family. To avoid any similar hiccups in the run up of the Assembly elections it was felt that people like Subhash Desai should be asked to exercise their discretion in vetting content,” a senior Shiv Sena leader said.
On May 1, Saamana had taken pot shots at the Gujarati community, asking why Gujarati traders who support Narendra Modi never stepped out of their highrises to celebrate Maharashtra Day.