Sanjay Raut in spotlight again

Mumbai: With BJP president Nitin Gadkari objecting to the language used to describe his party`s leaders in Shiv Sena mouthpiece `Saamana`, Sanjay Raut, the daily`s executive editor and an MP, is in the spotlight.

Targeting Raut, a Rajya Sabha member and also a Shiv Sena spokesperson, Gadkari recently said such writings were causing rift in the three-decade-old saffron alliance.

"The type of language that is used for BJP leaders in Saamana is not good for the success of the BJP-Sena alliance in the future," Gadkari said in a TV interview.

Gadkari also said he had no way of communicating with Bal Thackeray, because his phone calls were not passed on to the Sena supremo. Raut retorted that he was not "a telephone operator at the Thackeray residence".

In 2009, Bal Thackeray had distanced himself from an editorial in `Saamana` that blamed the `Marathi manoos` (Marathi-speakers) for the party`s debacle in the Maharashtra assembly elections.

"It was not outsiders but Maharashtrians themselves who stabbed us (Sena) in the back," the editorial said. But later, at a meeting with party legislators, Bal Thackeray said: "I cannot say such a thing."

Then, turning to Raut, he asked: "Sanjay, did you write that Marathi manoos stabbed us in the back?"

The exchange confirmed what was already known in media circles: The editorial comment that goes in the name of 86-year old Thackeray, the daily`s editor, is actually penned by Raut.