Presidential polls: Uddhav keeps BJP guessing, to hold meeting with Sena leaders today | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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Presidential polls: Uddhav keeps BJP guessing, to hold meeting with Sena leaders today

Mumbai city news: On Monday, BJP announced its candidate for the polls that will be held on July 17 is Bihar governor Ramnath Kovind

mumbai Updated: Jun 24, 2017 10:38 IST
Manasi Phadke
Presidential polls
Shiv Sena chief Udhav Thackrey addresses party workers at Matunga in Mumbai on Monday.(Pratik Chorge/HT Photo)

He stopped short of spelling out a complete rejection of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) presidential candidate, but Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said if BJP picked a Dalit with an eye on electoral gains, the Sena had no interest in supporting it.

On Monday, the BJP announced that its candidate for the presidential polls that will be held on July 17 is Bihar governor Ramnath Kovind.

Soon after, Thackeray said, “If you are propping up a Dalit candidate only to get Dalit votes, why should we be interested? But if after becoming president, someone is going to work for Dalits and for the entire country, then irrespective of who you nominate, Sena will stand with you.”

Thackeray said at the Sena’s 51st foundation day. He has called a meeting of Sena leaders on Tuesday to discuss it.

The BJP parliamentary board picked Kovind as its choice a day after party president Amit Shah met Thackeray in Mumbai.

READ: Opposition fumes over BJP’s nomination of Ram Nath Kovind as presidential candidate

At the meeting, Shah did not disclose a name, and Sena insisted the BJP first shares names of potential candidates. Sanjay Raut, Sena MP in Rajya Sabha, said Shah called Thackeray after BJP’s decision on Monday. The Sena chief has kept the BJP waiting.

“Sena never plays politics behind anyone’s back,” Thackeray said. The Sena’s first preference was RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat. After Bhagwat ruled himself out, it pitched scientist MS Swaminathan. Thackeray said Sena founder Bal Thackeray would proudly say his country is made of Hindus and is Hindustan.

In the past two presidential polls, Sena broke ranks with NDA and backed Congress’ Pranab Mukherjee and Pratibha Patil.

Voting for the presidential election is scheduled on July 17, and counting is on July 20 — four days before President Pranab Mukherjee’s term ends.

With 18 MPs and 63 MLAs, the Sena has 25,893 votes in the polls. The electoral college includes 708 points for every MP and 175 for every legislator in Maharashtra.