BJP Prez Amit Shah To Meet Uddhav Thackeray Over Presidential Election

Barely a day after Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and BJP President Amit Shah met here, the Shiv Sena on Monday launched a fresh attack on its ally - this time for the grim situation in Jammu and Kashmir and West Bengal.

The Shiv Sena earlier on Wednesday said that Bhagwat is the ideal candidate for president.

BJP president Amit Shah has said his party has been pro-free trade and free agriculture policy since its inception.

With President Pranab Mukherjee's term drawing to a close, there were reports that the RSS chief was one of the top contenders and Shiv Sena, through its mouthpiece Saamna, also threw its weight behind Bhagwat's name.

Shah is expected to mollify Thackeray and ensure his support for the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) candidate in the upcoming presidential election.

Only last week, the Sena claimed that it could take an independent line on presidential elections, creating a flutter in the BJP.

The three-member party committee, which includes Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, M Venkaiah Naidu and Arun Jaitley, will brief the board members about the consultations undertaken by them with allies and opposition parties. "We shall consider that too", he said jocularly, addressing a press conference here.

Later today, Shah is scheduled to meet party MPs, MLAs, state unit office bearers, morcha presidents, presidents of districts and mandals and other elected representatives in south Mumbai.

The names opposition is said to be considering include former Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi, former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar and Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar.

The latest flashpoint has been the issue of loan waiver for farmers.

Sena leaders said that with Shah's visit to Matoshree, Uddhav was likely to support an NDA candidate, provided they are kept in loop about the nomination.

Clearing the air on cricketing ties between the two neighbours, he said it was all right for them to play in global tourneys, but not on each others' soil.

The BJP's traditional support base is among upper-caste Hindus but the party has sought to broaden its appeal, winning a landslide victory in a state election in Uttar Pradesh in March with the backing of many low-caste voters.

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