Despite strong refusal by NCP chief Sharad Pawar to become opposition’s Presidential candidate, Shiv Sena, which heads the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra, on Wednesday made a strong case for Pawar as a consensus candidate and insisted that he should contest the upcoming poll.
Veteran Shiv Sena leader and Maharashtra Industry Minister Subhash Desai, who was deputed by the party president and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to attend the opposition’s meeting called by Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee to discuss strategy for Presidential election, argued that Pawar is capable and senior leader who should fight the election as opposition’s strong candidate against BJP.
However, NCP spokesman Mahesh Tapase said that the party thanked all the 17 opposition parties for unanimously recommending party chief Sharad Pawar as the Presidential candidate. ‘’Our party president has refused to run for the Presidential election. However, he requested all the leaders of the opposition to think of other names for the Presidential candidate when they meet again on June 21 in Delhi,’’ he added.
‘’The ruling BJP at the Centre has trampled on the values of democracy and all opposition parties should field a capable candidate for the Presidential election. NCP chief Sharad Pawar should contest the elections. If Pawar refuses, a candidate should be selected from outside the political arena,’’ said Desai. Incidentally, Shiv Sena shares power with NCP and Congress in the state.
Desai made a strong pitch for Pawar’s candidature after party MP Sanjay Raut supported his name saying, ‘’It is up to BJP to decide whether it wants a rubber stamp or President. Pawar is a veteran leader with administrative capabilities and fit to be President of India,’’ he noted.
‘’BJP has started breaking the framework of the Constitution. The country has trampled on the values it has upheld for 75 years. Constitutional mechanisms have been misused. In such a case, all the opposition parties should come together and decide and field a unanimous candidate for the post of President,’’ said Desai.
He further stated, ‘’Maharashtra has shown the way by uniting opposition parties against BJP. Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and Sharad Pawar made this start. All opposition parties must unite, not just for the President’s election but in future too to take on BJP. The President’s election is important as it is a matter of prestige for the country.’’