Sena hasn't formally exited NDA; Parliament seating shouldn't change: Raut

With the Maharashtra political stalemate persisting, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut shot off a letter to Venkaiah Naidu, the Rajya Sabha Chairperson, saying the change in his seating arrangement in the House has "hurt sentiments" of his party.

But what has added a fresh twist to the ongoing political drama is his statement that "no formal" word has been made about Sena's exit from the NDA.

In his letter dated Nov 18, he said: "I also fail to understand the reason for the unwarranted step of re-allocation of seats since there is no formal announcement about Sena's removal from the NDA.

"It may also be noted that no such decision has yet been taken by the Presiding Officer of the Lok Sabha," reads Raut's letter.

The Sena for the first time chose to stay away from the NDA meeting on Nov 17. Earlier, Sena forced its lone minister in the Union cabinet Arvind Sawant to quit. It is in this perspective and in the background of the Sena's bid to form government with the NCP-Congress that Raut's remark on Sena not having formally exited the NDA assumes significance.

Raut is the leader of Shiv Sena Parliamentary Party in the Rajya Sabha and his seating position has been changed from the 3rd to the 5th row.

In his long letter to the Rajya Sabha Chairperson, Sanjay Raut has lashed out at the government's decision on seating arrangement, calling it "deliberate" and a move that is taken to "hurt the Shiv Sena."

His statement about "no formal" announcement of Sena's exit from the NDA has added to the perceived confusion in the Sena ranks. On Tuesday, Raut said that "it needs 100 births" to understand what Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar says.

Sharad Pawar's NCP, which got 54 seats and has been in talks with both Sonia Gandhi and Shiv Sena for a non-BJP government in Maharashtra, too, has started giving mixed signals. On Monday after his meeting with Sonia Gandhi, Pawar said it is the Sena and BJP which need to worry about forming a government in Maharashtra.

On Wednesday, the Maratha strongman briefly met the Prime Minister. Sources said soon after BJP President Amit Shah entered PM Modi's chamber.

Earlier on Monday, PM Modi praised NCP for its conduct in the House, which too has been seen through political prism.

When a Union cabinet minister from the BJP was asked to respond to Raut's statement, he said, "Wait and watch."


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