Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut
Photo Credit: PTI

After calling upon non-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief ministers to fight against the centralisation of power in one leader, Shiv Sena Member of the Parliament (MP) Sanjay Raut, on Thursday, said it is time for Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray to test waters in national politics and lead non-BJP ruled states in the run up to the general elections slated for 2024.

Raut’s comment is crucial, as Thackeray surprised many by participating at the meeting of non-BJP CMs convened by Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee against the central government’s decision to hold JEE and NEET examinations amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Thackeray called upon them to decide whether to fear or fight against BJP.

“Uddhav Thackeray never speaks with hesitation. He has appealed to the non-BJP states to be ready for a fight against the central government. I think Thackeray should lead all these parties at the national level. He has a mindset to lead at the national level,’’ said Raut.

“Maharashtra should now shine at the national level. Sharad Pawar is doing this work, but everyone should work with him,”he said.

Raut, on the recent developments in the Congress after a letter bomb by 23 leaders and the Congress Working Committee’s resolution urging Sonia Gandhi to continue as interim president, said the party has a long tradition and is the largest opposition party. “The country needs a big opposition party, the Congress. Now, Congress should settle their internal issues and rise to the occasion,’’ he noted. Only Rahul Gandhi is capable of leading the Congress.

"Sonia Gandhi is over 70 years old. She has been leading the party for several years. Priyanka Gandhi does not appear in politics full time. Other senior leaders are in the role of mentors. All over the country, only Rahul Gandhi is seen as an activist. There is no one else in front of Rahul Gandhi who will lead,’’ said Raut.

Meanwhile, Raut said the state government may take a decision on the reopening of gyms and temples in the first week of September.

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