Sanjay Raut affirms Sena's support to Margaret Alva as VP, then explains stand on Murmu
Sanjay Raut, the Shiv Sena's key spokesperson, who has been defending his party's stand on backing Droupadi Murmu, said the Opposition is united in the election for the Vice President.
The Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena will back the Opposition's joint candidate for Vice President, Margaret Alva, Sanjay Raut said on Sunday after attending a meeting at NCP supremo Sharad Pawar's residence.
The Sena's decision to extend its support to the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance's (NDA) Presidential candidate Droupadi Murmu had raised a few eyebrows as it came few days after the Thackeray was thrown out of power in Maharashtra following a rebellion by party leader Eknath Shinde with tacit support from the saffron camp.
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Raut, Sena's key spokesperson, who has been defending his party's stand on backing Murmu, said the Opposition is united in the election for the Vice President.
“She (Droupadi Murmu) is a tribal woman and there is a sentiment for tribals in the country. Many of our MLAs and MPs are also from the tribal community. That's why we supported her. But, here in this alliance, we will support (Margaret Alva),” Raut told reporters.
The Sena MP from the Rajya Sabha had earlier said supporting Murmu did not mean supporting the BJP.
The Sena had formed a ruling coalition with the NCP and Congress – Maha Vikas Aghadi – after severing decades-old ties with the BJP over leadership issues. The MVA was overthrown last month, following which Shinde became the chief minister and BJP's Devendra Fadnavis his deputy.
A day ago, the BJP announced West Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankhar's name as the NDA candidate for Vice President.
Addressing a press conference after holding a meeting of Opposition leaders at his residence, Pawar said 17 parties are on board for this unanimous decision. Two others – Trinamool Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) – will also extnd their support, Pawar said.