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Won't support BJP's Presidential candidate if it is for votebank: Uddhav Thackeray

Won't support BJP's Presidential candidate if it is for votebank: Uddhav Thackeray”

A day after chief Uddhav Thackeray took umbrage at the announcement of Ram Nath Kovind as the Presidential nominee, the Shiv Sena after a meeting of senior party leaders made a decision to support his candidature.

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

Virtually accusing the BJP of playing Dalit vote-bank politics, the Shiv Sena on Monday said if the ally had put forth Ram Nath Kovind's name merely to capture the community's votes, it would not support him.

"Shah informed him (Thackeray) about the BJP choice and sought the Shiv Sena's support to Kovind's candidature", Raut said.

The Sena, which shares power at the Center and in Maharashtra, has had a conflicted relationship with the BJP.

In Mumbai, he is expected to hold a series of meetings starting with Fadnavis and his cabinet ministers at "Varsha" the Chief Minister's official residence, with state legislators and MPs at Sahyadri Guest House, and party leaders and activists at the Garware Club involving top and lower rung cadres.

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"Once the names have been suggested, we will finalise our name for the post of president", he said. He admitted that though the Sena had taken a stance that diverged from the BJP in the past, it had supported winning candidates. "In its history of 51 years, Shiv Sena has never stooped as low as to indulge in vote bank politics for selfish gains".

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

Thackeray had earlier said that his party will not back Kovind if his candidature is aimed at garnering Dalit votes. It supported Congress-led UPA nominee, incumbent Pranab Mukherjee in 2012 over the BJP-backed P.A Sangma. "We will tolerate the Sena only for that", a senior BJP minister said. One was of (RSS chief) Mohan Bhagwat. However, if it is not acceptable to BJP, then in that case Dr MS Swaminathan's name be announced as NDA nominee, " said Shiv Sena MP and spokesman Sanjay Raut.

"We want to touch the lives of the people like the way we have done in Maharashtra", the Rajya Sabha member said.

BJP does not, in the arithmetic as has now developed, need Sena's support for the NDA, with Telangana Rashtra Samiti, AIADMK, and the YSR Congress pledging support, has improved its chances.



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