MUMBAI: ON the backdrop of increasing support to BJP’s nominee in the presidential polls the Shiv Sena too on Tuesday decided to support Ramnath Kovind.
“After discussions we have decided to support NDA Presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind. After our support, I do not think it will be difficult for the BJP to get him elected,” Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray said while addressing media at his residence ‘Matoshree’ here in the western suburb of Bandra.
The U-turn in the Shiv Sena’s stand came after thorough discussion on the emerging political scenario at the party leaders’ meet at Matoshree this evening.
On Monday, while speaking at party’s foundation day function Thackeray had criticized the BJP for giving a Dalit candidate accusing the BJP of engaging in a petty vote-bank politics and had said that Shiv Sena would never support any such petty politics.
“Amit Shah had met me and requested for our support to their candidate. In turn I also suggested him two names which he said the BJP will consider. After the announcement of presidential candidate, Shah called me once again and told me the names suggested by us were considered, but they had their reasons for not making them the BJP candidate,” Thackeray said.
Shiv Sena had earlier proposed the names of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and agriculturist M S Swaminathan.
Responding to a query whether Shiv Sena would support Opposition parties if they field a Dalit candidate, Thackeray said the party’s stand will not change now. “It is not necessary that Sena will always oppose the BJP,” he said.
Responding to another query if the Sena will support the Opposition parties if they announce the name of one of those suggested by the Sena, Thackeray said, “I had announced the names of Mohan Bhagwat and Swaminathan a week back. “Had they wanted my support, they would have declared one of the names till now. But time has passed now and I will not change my decision,” he added.