Amit Shah Likely To Meet Shiv Sena Supremo Uddhav Thackeray

Chandrakant Patil

Responding to another query if the Sena would support the opposition parties if they announce a name already suggested by the Sena, Thackeray said, "I had announced the names of Mohan Bhagwat and M S Swaminathan a week back".

According to a source in the Shiv Sena, Shah told Thackeray that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would decide the NDA's candidate for the highest constitutional post.

Thackeray is also understood to have informed Shah that the BJP must announce first its candidate for Presidency before his party can take a decision on whether to support the nominee.

Responding to a poser on Sharad Pawar's candidature for the top post, Thackeray took a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president is his guru, adding it's hard to guess what is in ones heart.

"We held deliberations with senior party leaders and have made a decision to support Ram Nath Kovind's candidature". We will be patient enough to wait and give the government time until July to implement its announcement.

"Thackeray further said, But if it is for the development of the nation then we may support". We have never hidden this fact. "If that is so, we are not interested in backing him".

Thackeray also wondered aloud whether BJP's choice of Bihar governor Ramnath Kovind for President was for vote politics. "I will ensure that the saffron flag [Sena's flag] is hoisted atop Mantralaya", he told enthusiastic Sainiks at the Shanmukhananda Auditorium in Matunga.

Lauding Modi for enacting the Goods and Services Tax (GST) law, the BJP leader said nobody else had the "daring or capability" to do it. So, the Shiv Sena is upset with this fact.

"It is not necessary that Sena will always oppose the BJP", he said. In 1997, it fielded former Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) T.N Sheshan against K.R Narayanan.

The NDA on Tuesday got a major boost when its sulking constituent Shiv Sena supported its Presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind, who looks set to be the next President, even as a truncated opposition is bracing for an "ideological" contest. He admitted that though the Sena had taken a stance that diverged from the BJP in the past, it had supported winning candidates.

He was received at the Mumbai airport by Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and his cabinet members, BJP state President Raosaheb Danve, BJP city chief Ashish Shelar, party MPs and MLAs, and a massive crowd of enthusiastic party activists.

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