Sena says BJP chief Amit Shah called Uddhav after deciding prez nominee, will decide on support soon
Mumbai city news: Uddhav Thackeray is likely to clarify his stance when he addresses Shiv Sena workers on the party’s 51st foundation daymumbai Updated: Jun 19, 2017 16:16 IST
While Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah had sought the party’s consent after finalising Bihar governor Ramnath Kovind as its presidential candidate, the Sena has refrained from commenting on the issue so far.
Sources said that while the party is being “cautious”, chief Uddhav Thackeray is likely to clarify his stance when he addresses Shiv Sena workers on Monday evening — the party’s 51st foundation day.
“Amit Shah called the Shiv Sena chief after the BJP parliamentary board decided its presidential candidate. He explained the reason for his decision and asked for the Shiv Sena’s consent,” said Raut.
Thackeray told Shah that the party will discuss the issue with its leaders and decide upon a course of action in a day or two, said Raut.
The Shiv Sena’s first preference for the National Democratic Alliance’s (NDA’s) presidential candidate was Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat. After Bhagwat did not express interest in the post, it pitched agricultural scientist MS Swaminathan as an alternative.
On Sunday, Shah went to Thackeray’s Bandra home, seeking his support for the NDA’s presidential candidate. However, he did not reveal the candidates he had in mind. Thackeray had said that while he wants to support the NDA candidate, the BJP needs to list potential candidates so he can comment.
For the past two presidential elections, the Shiv Sena has broken ranks with the NDA and backed Congress nominees Pranab Mukherjee and Pratibha Patil.
Voting for the presidential election is scheduled on July 17, while the counting will take place on July 20, four days before President Pranab Mukherjee’s term ends.
With 18 MPs and 63 Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs), the Shiv Sena has 25,893 votes for the election, as the electoral college for the presidential poll includes 708 points for every MP and 175 for every legislator in Maharashtra.