Shiv Sena rules out rethink on support for Pranab as Prez
Asked Mukherjee to take tough decisions in return for support, says Uddhav Thackeray.mumbai Updated: Jun 22, 2012 00:35 IST
The Shiv Sena, on Thursday, hit back at rival Maharashtra Navnirman Sena and ally Bharatiya Janata Party for alleging that it had bartered a deal with the Congress to back Pranab Mukherjee as the presidential candidate.
“We are firm on our decision to back Pranab Mukherjee. He had spoken to Balasaheb (Thackeray) and had asked for the party's support,” said Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray, on Thursday. “At that time, Mukherjee was told that we would [support him] provided he took some tough decisions. The Sena has not supported him because of his political party, nor is there any special love for the individual,” he added.
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray had alleged that Sena leaders met Congress leader Ahmed Patel on the sly at a suburban five-star hotel and the party was repaying the Congress for the win in the BMC election in February.
Even the Sena's ally took a swipe at the party. Bharatiya Janata Party’s state chief Sudhir Mungantiwar, on Wednesday, asked if the Sena's 'deal' with the Congress was based on any concrete understanding, such as expediting the hanging of Afzal Guru, who has been convicted for the 2001 terror attack on the Parliament. Mungantiwar, however, also urged the Shiv Sena to rethink its stand on backing rival UPA’s Presidential nominee.
On Thursday, Uddhav also dared the MNS to prove its charges of clandestine deals between the Shiv Sena and Congress. “If [Raj Thackeray] is claiming that we have met someone in hotels, let him come out with details. Looks like he has not been able to digest our BMC victory,” Uddhav said. “As far as the BJP is concerned, I want to clarify that we have not broken off from the NDA. But they should desist from making such attacks.”
The Sena executive president also criticised the MNS's new campaign that involves keeping a watch on toll booths. “What do they mean by 'keeping a watch'? It is a mode of making some quick money and collecting 'hafta',” he alleged.