Shiv Sena attacks BJP over Kashmir and West Bengal situation

The Shiv Sena on Monday remained non-committal on whether or not it will support the BJPs nominee for the Presidential election, Ram Nath Kovind.

Earlier, Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray told media persons that his party has finally chose to support Kovind for the country's top post.

Regarding the Sena's initial objection to Kovind's candidature, a BJP leader said the party should not have any problems with a Dalit because the Late Bal Thackeray was a staunch supporter of Hindu-Dalit unity. Extending his well-wishes, Mr. Thackeray said Mr. Kovind belongs to a simple family and is a down to earth person who will competently perform his duties.

"Amit Shah had met me and requested our support for their candidate".

The BJP chief's upcoming meeting with Thackeray assumes significance as Shiv Sena has threatened to take an "independent stand" in the presidential election and also in wake of the ongoing war of words between allies over issues like farm loan waiver and the possibility of snap polls in Maharashtra.

After the Uddhav Thackeray offered his party's support, the NDA's Presidential candidate would get 25,000 votes of Shiv Sena.

Unless the BJP, in its afterglow of securing a victory for its candidate, turns magnanimous and decides to overlook the Sena decision not to support Kovind's candidature.

"Our party will take a final decision after the June 22 meeting. Hence, we are asking them to suggest names", said Shah.

"If someone is trying to make a Dalit a President with the objective of gaining a vote bank then we are not with them", Thackeray said. The BJP-led NDA (including Sena) has a total of 52 MPs.

Sena had earlier rooted for the candidature of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat on Hindutva line and later proposed the name of veteran agriculturist M S Swaminathan for the top post.

For the past two presidential elections, the Sena has broken ranks with the NDA and backed Congress nominees Pranab Mukherjee and Pratibha Patil. If you have the guts, then go to mid-term poll.

Thackeray said the situation has changed because of unrest against BJP. In that case, Narendra Modi, who likes to serve his revenge cold, may even act quicker and put the Sena on the mat in a mid-term poll. "Hold them today if you will and Shiv Sena cadres would be fired up to fight", he said, referring to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis' statement that the BJP was ready for mid-term polls "if they were imposed".

  • Zachary Reyes