Aggrieved Sanjay Raut writes to Venkaiah Naidu

Mumbai: Shiv Sena spokesperson and Member of Parliament (MP) Sanjay Raut has written a letter to RS chairman Venkaiah Naidu informing his displeasure for the change in the seating arrangement of Sena MPs in both the Houses of Parliament.

Early this week, the BJP relegated the Sena to the opposition benches in the Rajya Sabha (RS), after Sena’s Arvind Sawant resigned as the Heavy Industries minister.

Sena’s equation in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is still not clear even as the party is forging an alliance with the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in Maharashtra.

In the letter, Raut stated that the procedure of changing the seating arrangement was a ‘calculated move’ on part of the BJP-led government to ‘humiliate and deliberately hurt’ the Sena MPs in a bid to suppress their voice.

“I was astonished to know that my seat has been changed from the third row to the fifth. I think this decision was taken by someone to deliberately hurt the sentiments of Sena and to suppress our voice,” wrote an aggrieved Raut.

Raut also pointed out that when National Democratic Alliance (NDA) was in the opposition, he was allotted a seat in the third row in view of his seniority in the House. However, the ruling party’s move of changing his seating arrangement has tarnished the image and sanctity of democracy.

Moreover, the Sena MPs are yet to receive a formal letter informing them of Sena’s official exit from the NDA.

“I also fail to understand the reason for this unwarranted step of reallocation of seats since there is no formal announcement of our removal from the NDA,” said Raut in the letter.

Raut mentioned that BJP’s decision has ‘affected the dignity of the House’ as the elected chairperson is above party affiliations, one who is expected to take non-partisan decisions. He also mentioned BJP has changed the seating arrangement due to the tussle in government formation in Maharashtra.

He added: “I am a leader of the Sena parliamentary party for many years and according to the well-established tradition, a party leader — whether national or regional — is allotted a seat either in the front, second or third row of the House. This was so that the Sena MPs are able to raise the distress of the poor people of Maharashtra and now we have been denied.”

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