Amit Shah to meet 'opposing' ally Uddhav Thackeray


In an effort to build an unopposed consensus for the upcoming presidential polls, BJP president Amit Shah paid a "courtesy" visit to Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday.

According to sources, Amit Shah informed Uddhav Thackeray that nearly all allies of NDA have assigned powers to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to finalise the name of candidate for presidential polls. "It was a very positive meeting and local issues were not discussed", said a Sena leader privy to the development.

Thackeray told Shah on Sunday that the Sena would take a decision only after the BJP's nominee for the Presidential election was named.

The Shiv Sena had earlier floated the names of RSS Sarsanghachalak Mohan Bhagwat and agriculture scientist MS Swaminathan for the top post.

On two previous occasions, the Shiv Sena has parted the with National Democratic Alliance and supported United Progressive Alliance candidates: in 2007 when Pratibha Patil won the election and in 2012 when incumbent Pranab Mukherjee was elected.

More news: Trump lashes out over Russia probe

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.

The Sena chief said he offered prayers on Thursday at the Gajanan Maharaj Temple in Pune to give strength to the government to implement its promise of farm loans waiver. "Amit Shah called up Uddhavji after the NDA's presidential candidate was decided in the BJP's Parliamentary Board meeting". Apart from Uddhav, Shah's closed-door meeting in Matoshree, the Thackeray home in suburban Bandra, also included CM Devendra Fadnavis and Uddhav's son Aaditya Thackeray. "But, if the situation arises, we will not run away from the battleground and contest the election and win it". The BJP's ally Shiv Sena, in an embarrassment for the ruling BJP, has joined hands virtually with the State Opposition parties. We will always support the cause of farmers. "Bhagwat is the most appropriate choice for the Rashtrapati's office if India is to be turned into a Hindu Rashtra", he said. In 1997, Sena propped up former Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) TN Seshan as its Presidential candidate against KR Narayanan.

It said that BJP was it is backing (J&K chief minister) Mehbooba Mufti, who in turn, keeps making reckless statements.

Paswan said his party will stand by the Prime Minister's decision while the Samajwadi Party is understood to have favoured a politician as the new President. Uddhav can't risk upsetting the political applecart in Maharashtra as he knows that loss of power may trigger widespread unrest leading to even a split in the Sena, they added.

The Congress, the Left Front and the Trinamool Congress are waiting for the BJP to name its candidate.