Shiv Sena rebellion ends, will now support BJP's Presidential nominee

Mumbai: A day after accusing its ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of indulging in vote bank politics, the Shiv Sena on Tuesday made a decision to support BJP's candidate for the Presidential post. Sena has never indulged in the politics of hiding behind someone. Initially Sena had reservations against supporting presidential candidate and had asked BJP to first name its candidate for the post or choose either RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat and Agriculture Expert MS Swaminathan or nominate a candidate of their choice for the president's post.

"We support the presidential candidate of BJP with an expectation that he would serve in the interest of the nation".

Thackeray had said that his party will not back Kovind if his candidature is aimed at garnering Dalit votes.

"In the end they are with us, they are with us in Maharashtra, Delhi and Uddhav Thackeray is a very sober person".

Thackeray maintained his earlier stance and said he would call a meeting of the Shiv Sena to discuss the issue before taking a final decision.

After the Uddhav Thackeray offered his party's support, the NDA's Presidential candidate would get 25,000 votes of Shiv Sena. "I have told them about my views". "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".

The Sena's verbal support for Kovind is a departure from its previous practice of supported UPA nominees in presidential elections after ditching the BJP.

However, he told the media that Thackeray "will address all your doubts" at the Shiv Sena's 51st anniversary of founding function scheduled later Monday evening in Mumbai.

Meanwhile, Kovind has resigned from the gubernatorial post following his nomination as the ruling NDA's presidential candidate.

Patil defeated NDA candidate and Vice President B.S. Shekhawat.

BJP president Amit Shah had visited Uddhav Thackeray at his residence on Sunday.

Shiv Sena insiders said Uddhav had also tried to catch the BJP in a bind and grab the attention of a section of Hindutva adherents by pitching for Bhagwat as the President and pushed for Swaminathan to strike a chord with farmers agitating in Maharashtra and other states.

Sena has 21 MPs - 18 in Lok Sabha and 3 in Rajya Sabha, while the BJP has 23 members in Lok Sabha and 5 members in Rajya Sabha from the state, that corresponds to a total value of 19,824 votes. However, we are not perturbed about winning or losing mid-term elections in Maharashtra.

  • Julie Sanders