My arrest will be biggest mistake of their political career, says Raut after his release

With a saffron scarf slung around his neck, which had Shiv Sena emblazoned on it, Sanjay Raut stepped out of Arthur Road Jail at 6.45 pm on Wednesday. Standing in front of the prison, Raut reaffirmed his commitment to Uddhav Thackeray’s leadership and said he will continue taking on those in power.

Raut, who was released on bail after spending 100 days behind bars, was welcomed by Shiv Sainiks, who had gathered outside Arthur Road Jail as well as outside his residence in Bhandup.

“I am feeling happy after coming out. We are fighters and we will continue to fight. I have spent my whole life in the Shiv Sena. I lived with the Sena and will die with the Sena, but I will not leave the Sena and go anywhere. I will prefer to die instead but won’t quit Sena ever,” Raut said after coming out of the prison, where he was surrounded by Sainiks who had come to express their solidarity.

At his residence in Bhandup, hours after his release, Raut said he will now fight with full force against the opposition, and won’t stop.

“My family members did not cry when I was arrested, but today, when I was released, they cried. But it’s not the time to cry now, it is the time to fight. I have become free now so I will not stop and I will take off with full force (against the opposition) Now, we have to fight with full force,” said Raut to the Sainiks who had gathered near his residence in Bhandup, adding, “They arrested me from this place… while leaving the house, I had told them that I will prefer death but I won’t bow down or surrender in front of Delhi.”

The Sena-UBT leader said, “They don’t know what a big mistake they made by arresting me. It will be the biggest mistake of their political career. They will come to know soon. Every second of my life is dedicated to the Sena .Today, the court said the arrest was illegal. Arrest me as many as times you want but I will not leave the Sena.”

After his release, Raut first headed to a Hanuman Temple in south Mumbai, then visited the Siddhivinayak Temple and the Bal Thackeray memorial. He was accompanied by hundreds of Sainiks on motorbikes. He finally reached his residence in Bhandup, where he received a grand welcome from his family members and hundreds of Shiv Sainiks.

Leaders of the Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) as well as its Maha Vikas Aghadi allies Congress and NCP welcomes his release.

“The cannon is back on the battlefield and the Shiv Sena tiger is back. He is the loyal Shiv Sainik of Balasaheb Thackeray… even after using so many pressure techniques against him, he did not betray anyone or switch sides under pressure. He is not a coward like others who fled after coming under pressure,” said Sena-UBT MLA Aaditya Thackeray.

The NCP too welcomed Raut’s release, with party MLA Rohit Pawar tweeting a video of a tiger being released from a cage and tagging Raut in it, with the text Satyamev Jayate.

NCP leader and MP Supriya Sule also welcomed the decision and called Raut a fighter. “Whether it is Sanjay Raut, Anil Deshmukh or Nawab Malikji, all of them are fighters from the state and the country. They have struggled. The way they were arrested was unfortunate. Deshmukhji has got bail, now Rautji has also got bail. I hope Nawabji also gets bail soon and is released. We had faith in the judiciary and accordingly, today, the judiciary has doled out justice. I thank the courts for that,” said Sule.

Balasaheb Thorat, president of the Maharashtra Congress, said, “We are happy that Sanjay Raut has been released on bail. But the current era in the country is such that if the opposition speaks, then they are branded as traitors. Dissent has become a crime now and autonomous agencies like the ED (Enforcement Directorate) and IT (Income Tax department) are being misused for politics. Personalities like Raut, who take a stand, suffered because of that. Today, he was released by court on bail… the court has made some observations while doing that… we welcome that decision and we are glad.”

The Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena, meanwhile, said that while Raut has been released, he should ensure that he watches his words, or be ready to face appropriate action. “We wish him good luck and good health. But if he says anything wrong, we will give a befitting reply. If he speaks well and makes his criticisms in an appropriate language, then there will be no issue. We do not want any personal rift but while criticising, one should use appropriate language,” said Deepak Kesarkar, state minister and spokesperson for the Eknath Shinde group.

Meanwhile, the Raut family lit up their Bhandup residence in anticipation of the Sena leader’s arrival. “It is Diwali for us. We could not celebrate Diwali or Dussehra since saheb was in jail. Now that he is returning, it is Diwali for us and we are celebrating Diwali today,” said Shiv Sena MLA Sunil Raut, the younger brother of Raut.

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