Making a public statement after his controversial attack on Bollywood actor Sonu Sood, Shiv Sena's Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut has said that he 'acted well', while adding that Maharashtra has other Covid fighters who are working behind the scenes. Doubling down and hinting at Sood's political allegiance, Raut said that a sting must be done to show the reality. He went on to point out that Sood was called to Raj Bhawan to meet the Governor of Maharashtra. He claimed that there is a 'political director' behind Sood's work.
He said: "Sonu Sood took the streets and acted well. The work he did is good work but I thought some political director may be behind him in this task. There are many working behind the scenes in COVID fight. But a person working so much in front of the camera - which means he is trying to show Maharashtra govt is not doing anything. He was called to Raj Bhawan as well. But Mumbai has other COVID fighters as well, they should also be celebrated and heard."
Earlier, Raut in his 'Saamna' editorial hit out at Sood over his helping the migrant workers. Targeting the praise that the actor has been receiving for his act, Raut wrote that during the lockdown period, a new "Mahatma" named Sonu Sood has come all of a sudden. He wrote, "It is being said that Sonu Sood transported millions of migrant laborers to his home in other states," and the Governor of Maharashtra has also praised "Mahatma Sood" for his work.
Slamming Shiv Sena leader Raut for targeting Sood over his helping the migrant workers, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) leader Ameya Khopkar said that except for writing an editorial, what has Sanjay Raut done? He said that if someone has done something good then it should be appreciated. "Show a big heart. Anyway, what can I expect from you except crying...," the president of the party's cinema wing said.
Meanwhile, senior Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi challenged ally Shiv Sena over criticizing Sood for helping migrant workers reach their homes, however added that states with 'best intentions' may not be able to encourage real efforts. Taking to Twitter, he questioned why the actor should be slammed if he is "genuinely" helping the migrants. He further asserted that if private citizens come forward to help, they should be welcomed and encouraged.
Bollywood actor Sonu Sood and his friend Neeti Goel have won hearts with their 'Ghar Bhejo' initiative. The actor has facilitated several buses for workers stuck in Mumbai due to the Coronavirus-forced nationwide lockdown. The actor has transported workers to far off states such as Karnataka, Bihar, Jharkhand, and Uttar Pradesh.
He has also launched a toll-free helpline to help migrants reach their homes, and as a result, has become somewhat of a social media phenomenon, with netizens likening him to a sort of logistics powerhouse, asking him to 'send things from one place to another.'