Amit Shah to meet 'opposing' ally Uddhav Thackeray

Mumbai: A day after accusing its ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of indulging in vote bank politics, the Shiv Sena on Tuesday chose to support BJP's candidate for the Presidential post.

"We will not take any decision without discussions and announce it tomorrow (Tuesday)", Thackeray declared, addressing a rally of party workers to mark the 51st foundation day of Shiv Sena on Monday. "Now that we have extended support, I don't think there should be any obstacle", Thackeray said, adding he can not endlessly wait for the opposition parties to finalise their candidate for the post. "Uddhavji will recommend his name to Amit Shah when he calls on him at "Matoshree" (Thackeray's residence) on Sunday", Raut had said. "Hence, we are asking them to suggest names", said Shah.

Sena had earlier rooted for the candidature of Bhagwat on Hindutva line and later proposed the name of Swaminathan for the top post. "But instead of working for farmers, some people [read BJP] are showing more interest in mid-term poll", he further said, appealing to Sainiks to keep up the spirit they'd shown in winning the BMC polls.

In the Presidential polls of 2007 and 2012, the Sena deviated from the NDA to vote for the Congress nominees: Pratibha Patil and Pranab Mukherjee respectively.

The BJP chief said the NDA government had taken up the cause of the downtrodden, women, tribals, farmers and weaker sections of society and did not have a single allegation of corruption against it. Sena has 63 MLAs.

Senior Congress leaders could meet under the chairmanship of Sonia Gandhi if BJP announces its candidature today.

The Sena has 21 MPs - 18 Lok Sabha and 3 Rajya Sabha members - while the BJP has 23 Lok Sabha and 5 Rajya Sabha members from the state that corresponds to a total value of 19,824. "But instead of mid-term poll results, we are anxious about what will happen in Kashmir and in violence-hit Darjeeling", the Sena said in Saamna.

As the war between Shiv Sena and BJP has intensified after the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections this February, the opposition is leaving no stone unturned to make the most of the situation.

Hold mid-term polls if you want, we are ready. The Sena chief agreed, contradicting the BJP, which supported NDA candidate P.A. Sangma. "Shivsainik is not just a burning ember, but will rise like a forest fire", he had said.

  • Salvatore Jensen