Mumbai: Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray is believed to have maintained his party’s aggressive stance on the issue of the presidential polls at the much-awaited meeting with BJP president Amit Shah on Sunday. Though the BJP chief did not disclose names of any candidate for the post of President of India, he sought Thackeray’s support for the NDA nominee who would be announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The closed-door meeting between Thackeray and Amit Shah lasted around 75 minutes. Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and Aditya Thackeray, chief of Yuva Sena and son of Uddhav, too, were at the meeting. But state BJP chief Raosaheb Danve was asked to sit in a separate hall at Matoshree.
Uddhav Thackeray reportedly pushed for two names for the President’s post: RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and agro-scientist M.S. Swaminathan. The BJP has remained non-committal to the names though it has said it is open to discussions. Thackeray is also understood to have informed Shah that the BJP must first announce its candidate before his party can take a decision on whether to support the nominee.
The BJP has put its hunt for President Pranab Mukherjee’s successor in top gear and has declared that the NDA nominee will file his or her nomination papers before June 24. As part of this exercise, the BJP has formed a three-member panel to negotiate with the Opposition. This panel has already met Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.
On Sunday, Union minister Venkaiah Naidu spoke to Ramgopal Yadav and Naresh Agarwal of the SP and also met BJP ally and Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan. Another member of the BJP’s panel, Arun Jaitley has reached out to the Trinamool Congress and the BJD.
The BJP is trying to work out a broad consensus among political parties regarding the presidential nominee since it is against a contest for the top constitutional post. BJP sources said that the party is likely to share the name of the nominee with all political parties before June 24, when Prime Minister Narendra leaves on a three-nation foreign tour. Modi will visit Portugal on June 24, before his trip to the US on June 26 and the Netherlands on June 27.