Shiv Sena does a U-turn, backs Modi for PM
By Ganesh N | Published: 14th September 2013 09:57 AM |
With the BJP formally declaring Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as its PM candidate on Friday, key ally Shiv Sena, which was earlier opposed to the Gujarat strongman, finally came round to endorse his candidature.
In order to ensure the Sena’s support, Modi had called up its ‘Pramukh’ Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday night and sought his blessings. And Modi’s decision to telephone the Sena chief was in itself significant since the right-wing Hindu outfit had been sending out mixed signals on whom it would be supporting as the NDA’s Prime Ministerial candidate.
Also, rather than leaving the BJP functionaries to do the bidding on his behalf, Modi took charge and spoke directly to Uddhav since he was only too well aware of the fact that a miffed Sena could upset the NDA applecart.
BJP leaders, meanwhile, said that the Gujarat strongman’s move to reach out to the Sena chief had become crucial in the wake of senior BJP Leader L K Advani’s constant harping that Modi could not be the BJP’s face since the NDA allies were uncomfortable with him. Prior to his demise, the late Bal Thackeray had embarrassed the BJP by saying that Sushma Swaraj was the ideal candidate for the PM’s post,if the NDA was voted to power.
According to sources, it was Modi’s patronage of Uddhav’s cousin and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS)chief Raj Thackeray, which had earlier alienated the Shiv Sena resulting in Modi being targeted by Sena mouthpiece Saamana.
Meanwhile, reacting to Modi’s anointment, Uddhav said, “In the dire straits the country if Modi is given the baton to lead the polls and the nation with an objective to defeat the Congress and give support to Hindutva, then the Shiv Sena welcomes such a move with an open heart.”