Ram Nath Kovind Presidential election 2017: Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackaray on Monday took a jibe at ally Bharatiya Janata Party as he questioned latter’s choice to name Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind as it’s Presidential nominee. “If someone is trying to make a Dalit a President with the purpose of gaining a vote bank then we are not with them,” Uddhav Thackeray said. “But if it is for the development of the nation then we may support,” Thackeray added, leaving everyone guessing as to which way he will eventually go in the poll. He further said that he’ll talk about his tomorrow. Shiv Sena chief’s remarks came hours after BJP chief Amit Shah declared Kovind’s candidature for Presidential post. Shiv Sena is the second largest constituent of the NDA and have shared an uneasy relationship with the BJP ever since the two parties parted ways ahead of the 2014 assembly polls. “Amit Shah called up Uddhavji after the NDA’s presidential candidate was decided by the BJP’s parliamentary board meeting. Shah sought the Sena’s support for Ram Nath Kovind,” Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut was quoted as saying by Press Trust of India.
“Uddhavji told him that he will convene a meeting of the party leaders to arrive at a decision and convey our answer to him in one or two days,” he said. “We had suggested two names for the post. One was of (RSS chief) Mohan Bhagwat. If they (BJP) had a problem with that, we wanted (eminent agriculturist) M S Swaminathan. But since they have chosen some other name, the party will convey to the BJP our decision soon,” Raut said. Earlier in the day, opposition parties – Congress, TMC, and Communist Party of India (Marxist), too, expressed their displeasure over the move, and remained non-comittal over the support.
Ram Nath Kovind ji RSS ke Dalit sakha ke pramukh thay, wo ek rajneeti hua na. Ye seedhi seedhi rajneetik takrao hai, (Ram Nath Kovind was the chief of RSS’ SC wing. It’s a straight political confrontation)” Sitaram Yechury was quoted as saying by ANI. “Opposition parties are meeting on 22nd. Only once in history of independent India has the president of India been elected uncontested,” Yechury added.