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    ‘Give ED in our hands for 48 hours, even Devendra Fadnavis will vote for Shiv Sena’: Sanjay Raut

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    Sanjay Raut’s reaction comes in the backdrop of Shiv Sena candidate Sanjay Pawar losing the sixth seat in the Rajya Sabha polls from Maharashtra held on Friday.

    Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Monday accused the Enforcement Directorate of working at the behest of the central government and said that even BJP leader “Devendra Fadnavis will vote for Shiv Sena” if the agency’s charge is given at the hands of his party for 48 hours.

    His reaction comes in the backdrop of Shiv Sena candidate Sanjay Pawar losing the sixth seat in the Rajya Sabha polls from Maharashtra held on Friday, a contest which had become a high-prestige battle between the ruling Sena and the opposition BJP in the state.

    Fadnavis, the leader of opposition in the state Assembly, is credited for the BJP’s victory on the sixth seat, won by party nominee Dhananjay Mahadik by defeating Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Pawar.

    Prior to the polls, Raut had alleged that the BJP was using central agencies to put pressure on independents and smaller parties to vote in favour of the BJP candidates. The independents and smaller parties, some of whom had pledged support to the Sena, played a crucial role in the BJP’s victory.

    Talking to reporters on Sunday, Raut said, “If the ED’s control is given to us for two days, then Devendra Fadnavis too will vote for us.”

    The Shiv Sena’s chief spokesperson had on Saturday described BJP’s victory on three Rajya Sabha seats in Maharashtra as the “mandate of horse-trading”. He had also accused the Election Commission (EC) of siding with the opposition party, which he claimed “put pressure” on the poll panel.

    “Some horses were up for sale at a higher price and shifted sides despite assurance of their votes to our candidate,” he had said.

    When asked about these comments, Raut on Sunday said, “We only expressed our feelings. They (those who did not vote for the Sena) as well the BJP are aware of what we are saying.”

    Raut had earlier said three MLAs of the Bahujan Vikas Aghadi (BVA), an independent MLA from Karmala Sanjaymama Shinde, Swabhimani Paksha MLA Devendra Bhuyar and PWP MLA Shyamsunder Shinde did not vote for the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA-comprising the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress), despite assuring to do so.

    The Sena leader said they had taken note of this development and that Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray was distressed over the defeat of Sanjay Pawar.

    Raut, along with his wife, is already facing a probe by ED in a money laundering case. In April, the agency had provisionally attached assets worth more than Rs 11.15 crore of Raut’s wife and two of his associates.

    Raut, who has been accusing the BJP-led Union government of misusing central agencies against its opponents, alleged that is was an act of vengeance and said said the ED’s claim against him will fall flat.

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