Shiv Sena non-committal on BJP Presidential candidate

Shiv Sena non-committal on BJP Presidential candidate”

He has a nice personality. Why should we be interested if you want a person who will work only for Dalits.

The U-turn in the Shiv Sena's stand came after a discussion among senior party leaders this evening.

However, he said the party would not tolerate if the candidature is intended for ensuring provision of Dalit votes, as the Shiv Sena keeps away from vote-bank politics. Kovind's nomination will help the party to consolidate Dalit vote bank ahead of polls. Mr Thackeray said that Sena never played caste-based politics.

Addressing a press conference after the meeting, Mr. Thackeray said all the party legislators and MPs will support Ram Nath Kovind, nearly clearing his way to Raisina Hill. However, he was quick to add that his party would take the decision whether to support Kovind on Tuesday after considering all factors.

The Shiv Sena had strayed from the NDA line and supported the UPA candidates in 2007 when Pratibha Patil won the election and in 2012 when incumbent Pranab Mukherjee was elected. West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi will discharge the functions of the Governor of Bihar, in addition to his own duties.

Though the main opposition Congress party, Left parties, Bahujan Samajwadi Party ( BSP), Rashtriya Janata Dal ( RJD), and Janata Dal (United) have not extended support to Kovind, other opposition parties like Odisha's Biju Janata Dal (BJD), and Andhra's YSR Congress Party have supported Kovind's candidature. While Meira Kumar's candidature is strong enough, NCP's Sharad Pawar could also be worth exploring.

Venkaiah Naidu reached out to several regional parties for their support.

The total comes to 10,98,903 votes with each MP carrying a vote value of 708. "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.

Kovind was until June 19 the governor of Bihar and shared a warm relationship with Nitish Kumar. "A farmer's son, Dalit leader & successful lawyer, he is certain to be an exemplary President", tweeted Vijai Sardesai, Goa's Agriculture Minister.

Azad would also meet RJD Chief Lalu Prasad, who leans towards the Congress.

BJP president Amit Shah said, "Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already had a word with Congress president Sonia Gandhi and former prime minister Manmohan Singh about BJP's candidate for presidential poll".

Congress sources feel Shinde could be a better candidate due to his record in public life.

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