Mumbai: A day after accusing its ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of indulging in vote bank politics, the Shiv Sena on Tuesday decided to support BJP’s candidate for the Presidential post.
After holding a meeting with his party leaders at his residence declared on Tuesday evening, the Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said that his party would support Ram Nath Kovind with an expectation that he would serve in the interest of the country.
“We support the presidential candidate of BJP with an expectation that he would serve in the interest of the nation. Amit Shah had said during his visit to Mumbai that Shiv Sena’s support was needed. I had told him to declare the name of the candidate. He again called on Monday and declared the name. We held a meeting on Tuesday and decided to support Ram Nath Kovind,” Mr Thackeray said.
After the Uddhav Thackeray offered his party’s support, the NDA’s Presidential candidate would get 25,000 votes of Shiv Sena.
On the Shiv Sena’s earlier stand, Mr Thackeray said he had two names in mind. “I had put forth Mohan Bhagwat’s name who could help in building Hindu Rashtra. The second choice was of M.S. Swaminathan. But I was told that his health would not permit him to work. We decided that whoever willing to do a good work should be supported. I still do not agree with the vote bank politics,” Mr Thackeray added.
To a query about Sena’s opposition to the BJP, Mr Thackeray said, “We do not fight for the sake of fighting. Opposing the BJP at every point is not our agenda. We will point out when things go wrong.”
Responding to the question on the possibility of opposition fielding a Dalit candidate, he said that there was no consensus. He also refused to accept that Sena had made a U-turn. Mr Thackeray said that Sena never played caste-based politics....