PUNE: Union Home Minister Amit Shah is a “staunch nationalist”, but he should accept the fact that there is democracy in the country, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said here on Wednesday.
The Sena’s Rajya Sabha member was speaking at an awards ceremony of the media group Lokmat.
During a public interview, he was asked to describe the qualities of some prominent leaders and also to give them advise in a rapid-fire session.
About Narendra Modi, Raut said he was a very hard working man.
“I do not have the right to give him any advice.
He is the prime minister,” he said.
“But as ajournalist, I would like to say that he should check what is going on among his colleagues,” the Sena leader said in a cryptic remark.
When it came to Shah, Raut said the BJP president was a “staunch nationalist” and some of his decisions, such as the scrapping of Article 370, were commendable.
“But in some cases, he should accept that there is democracy in the country and understand the opposition’s view,” he said.
On Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Raut said, “He is good at heart, but he should spend at least 15 hours in the party office.”
Asked about Nitin Gadkari, he said the senior BJP leader should work more in Delhi.
“We need a BJP leader from Maharashtra like him to stand strongly in Delhi,” Raut added.
He had good relations with Dalit leader Prakash Ambedkar, Raut said, adding that he should not do anything that benefits the BJP.
Asaduddin Owaisi, leader of the All India Majlis-e- Ittehadul Muslimeen, is a fine legal expert, but he should change his image as a “vote-cutting machine”, Raut said.
The Sena leader lauded NCP leader Ajit Pawar as the “most efficient minister” in the Maharashtra government.
About Shiv Sena president and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Raut said he is someone who trusts people.
“As he is now the chief minister, he should take some strong decisions,” he added.
Earlier in the interview, he was asked about the time when the Shiv Sena mouthpiece `Saamana’ targeted Congress president Sonia Gandhi, calling her “Italian woman”.
The Sena is now sharing power with the NCP and the Congress in Maharashtra.
In his reply, Raut pointed out that NCP chief Sharad Pawar left the Congress on the same issue (Sonia Gandhi’s origins), but later he formed an alliance with her.
“A lot of time has passed. Her age is now 70. She is the president of the Congress and BJP also had criticized her. Now she is a citizen of India. Will you remove her through the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, is it possible?” he said.
About Deepika Padukone’s visit to Jawaharlal Nehru University after violence on the campus, Raut asked why other actors did not express themselves on the issue.
“They are students (who were attacked), they are the citizens of this country. Even if I don’t subscribe to their ideology the way their blood was spilled on the road, that blood was of our country’s students,’ he said.
“As an actor, you should express your stand, be it in the support of the government or against the government,” he added.
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