Presidential poll 2017: Shiv Sena willing to support NDA’s nominee
Mumbai: The Shiv Sena on Sunday indicated to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah that it would be willing to support the nominee the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi select for the Presidential election in July.
Shah had a lunch meeting with his Shiv Sena counterpart Uddhav Thackeray at the latter’s residence on Sunday. Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and BJP state unit president Raosaheb Danve also accompanied Shah on his second visit to the Thackeray residence in three years.
A statement by the state BJP said Shah’s meeting with Thackeray was a “courtesy call” and that the BJP president met other constituents of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) as well during his three-day Mumbai visit.
A BJP functionary, who did not wish to be named, said Shah met Thackeray as a matter of courtesy and to seek the Sena’s support for the NDA’s Presidential nominee.
“Amitbhai told Thackeray that the BJP had given full rights to Modiji to nominate the NDA candidate and other NDA constituents had agreed to support whosoever Modiji nominates. He urged the Sena president to do the same,” said the BJP functionary.
He said Thackeray sought to know if the BJP and Modi had already zeroed in on a candidate but indicated that the Sena would support any candidate the BJP selected.
The Shiv Sena has been playing hard ball with the BJP over the Presidential polls since it has votes worth the value of more than 25,800. The BJP in Maharashtra has interpreted this as a reflection of the Sena’s frosty ties with the BJP and Modi.
“Uddhavsaheb reiterated that the Sena was keen on Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohanji Bhagwat’s candidature but the BJP has conveyed to us informally that RSS is not part of the political process. Uddhavsaheb has alternatively suggested agriculture scientist Dr M.S. Swaminathan’s name since he is the one who can understand farmers’ issues and help out the Modi government form a proper farm strategy,” said a Sena functionary who requested anonymity.