Shiv Sena supports Kovind; to go with NDA after 15 years

CM Kumar himself had pitched strongly for unity among the Opposition, however, seems to be wavering on the nomination of Kovind, who is a Mahadalit and governor of the same state where Kumar is Chief Minister.

"If someone is trying to make a Dalit a President with the goal of gaining a vote bank then we are not with them, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said adding that they would extend their support only if the decision was taken for the development of the nation. After our support, I do not think it will be hard for the BJP to get him elected", Thackeray told reporters at his residence "Matoshree" in suburban Bandra this evening.

Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav on Tuesday extended his support to NDA's presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind, saying that he is a deserving candidate.

On another count, that none of the reams of media speculation in recent days about the ruling party's candidate for the election of India's First Citizen even got an inkling of Kovind's name is a pointer to the limitations of journalism that revolves around access to power.

"In turn, I suggested him two names which he said the BJP will consider". From Mohan Bhagwat to MS Swaminathan, the Shiv Sena had been endorsing candidates for the post, however, BJP's announcement of Kovind as their candidate came as a shock to many.

The Sena, which shares power at the Centre and in Maharashtra, has been in a love-hate relationship with the BJP. The names of Meira Kumar and Shinde have been floated to counter the NDA so that parties like the BSP would have no problem going against the NDA Dalit candidate.

Meanwhile, Congress President Sonia Gandhi will chair the Opposition parties' meet on Thursday to decide their strategy. When we asked on whom they want to build consensus, they had no answer then. "This is how we look at it", CPI National Secretary D. Raja said. Sena has 63 MLAs.

By picking Kovind, BJP and the RSS leaders have given a fresh push to their strategy of integrating Dalits into Hindu society.

"Shivsainik is not just a burning ember, but will rise like a forest fire", he had said.

  • Leroy Wright