MUMBAI: THE Shiv Sena leadership on Sunday made it clear that while deciding to vote for the presidential candidate their preferences would depend solely on who the candidate is and nothing else.
Even as Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah met Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray at the latter’s residence in suburban Mumbai and sought Shiv Sena’s support for National Democratic Alliance’s (NDA) candidate, the party remained non-committal.
At over an hour-long closed-door meeting between the leaders of two NDA allies, Shah told Thackeray that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would decide the NDA’s candidate for the highest constitutional post, said sources. However, Thackeray said he would like to know the name of the ruling party’s candidate before deciding on its support in the July 17 presidential election.
Sources further added that the Sena has reiterated its stand that in order to usher in the concept of Hindurashtra, the names of either Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat or father of green revolution in India Dr M S Swaminathan be considered.
It may be recalled that Bhagwat has already stated that he is not interested in the presidential polls. Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and state BJP president Raosaheb Danve accompanied Shah during meeting which was also attended by Sena chief’s son and Yuva Sena president Aditya Thackeray.
Earlier in the day, Shah met Republican Party of India (Athavale faction) and Union minister for social justice Ramdas Athavale, Rashtriya Samaj Paksha leader and minister for dairy development Mahadev Jankar, MLC leader Shiv Sangram, Vinayak Mete and Vinay Kore.
On Saturday while speaking to newspersons over the Chief Ministers remarks on “mid-term polls”, BJP president Amit Shah argued that what Fadnavis meant was that if the mid-term polls are forced on us (BJP) then we (BJP) are ready to fight.
On the issue of recent loan waiver announced by the government, the BJP president remarked that the financial burden of the loan waiver will be on the government and not on the banks.
It may be recalled that in the past the Sena has taken stand diametrically opposite to the BJP during the 2007 and 2012 presidential polls. The Sena had supported Congress candidate Pratibhatai Patil (2007) against the BJP candidate Bhaironsingh Shekhawat and Congress candidate Pranab Mukherjee (2012) against BJPs candidate P A Sangma.