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Monday, Aug 19, 2019

Trying to build consensus on presidential candidate, says Amit Shah

The BJP national president said it wasn’t possible for the party to build a consensus alone, and was working towards it ahead of the presidential election that will take place next month on 17th.

india Updated: Jun 27, 2017 12:37 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
BJP president Amit Shah
BJP president Amit Shah (Pratik Chorge/HT File Photo)

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah on Saturday said that it was unfairly getting flak over next month’s Presidential polls even when the party was trying to build an all-party consensus over the candidate.

“ We are meeting with them (Opposition) to seek suggestions. If we had go for talks with our own names, they would have questioned us for making up our minds before engaging with them. Is it better to seek their suggestions and then decide or decide first and then ask for suggestions?,’’ questioned Shah, when asked about Opposition’s charge that BJP was trying to draw out names from them but not sharing any of their preferences for the Presidential candidate.

“We are trying to work out a consensus, but we can’t do it alone’’, Shah added later.

Shah, who is in Mumbai on a three-day visit, as part of a larger 95-day country wide tour to expand the organisational base of BJP, said this at a press conference in the city party office in Dadar.

He, however, ducked questions over Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti Sayeed’s call for talks with separatists to resolve the ongoing problem in the state.

“I have not seen or heard her statement on the issue so I cannot comment on it right now,’’ said Shah in response to the question. However, the BJP president did point out that one cannot analyse the Kashmir issue looking at just last five to seven month time period.

Speaking on the increased militant activity and ceasefire violations, Shah said, “Kashmir issue cannot be analysed from prism of last five to seven months. This has been going on since 1989…there have been phases since then of three-four-five months where such situations have arisen.’’

“ Whenever security agencies have tightened their control, there has been a reaction but let me assure you that in some time, this will be brought under control. Security agencies have already started work on it,’’ he added.

Six policemen from South Kashmir’s Anantnag district were killed and disfigured on Friday when militants ambushed their vehicle, the latest such attack on security forces in the troubled state.

Meanwhile, the BJP president also downplayed a question on Shiv Sena’s suggestion to put up agriculture scientist M S Swaminathan as the Presidential candidate. Shah instead said that everyone’s suggestions would be considered and told the media person asking the question to offer his own suggestion to the mix. He also said that in the next round the party would offer some of its own names and consider the names offered by the Opposition as well.

The BJP president, also chose to be non-committal over the violence in Darjeeling and the issue over Gorkhaland, saying the party had not yet decided its stance on the issue.

He, however, made light of West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s allegation of political conspiracy in fanning the Gorkhaland issue. He said, “Mamata ji sees political conspiracy even in the Army. If a plane doesn’t land she calls it political conspiracy.’’

Shah also downplayed a suggestion that India should not play against Pakistan at any international event in sports, especially cricket.

“India is not visiting Pakistan and vice versa for any sporting events. But, at international events and in such contests, matches will be played. Are you saying we should not participate in any international league ?’’ said BJP president rhetorically, when asked if there would be a complete ban on playing against Pakistan owing to increased violence in Kashmir.

First Published: Jun 18, 2017 00:02 IST

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