With Presidential polls coming closer, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Friday recommended the name of agriculture scientist M S Swaminathan for the post. The day also saw Thackeray holding an interaction with farmers’ groups from Puntamba village in Ahmednagar district. Thackeray is scheduled to meet BJP chief Amit Shah soon to discuss the Presidential elections.
On Friday, he said the Sena was in favour of a “consensus candidate” and hoped the BJP came up with a “good name”. Speaking to the media, Thackeray said: “Our first presidential candidate choice is RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat. But if there are some problems in getting consensus on his candidature, we suggest the name of Swaminathan. Ideally, we would like to have consensus on the Presidential candidate. If Amit Shah has a good name for the post, we are willing to consider it.”
The Shiv Sena chief said farmers’ problems were a major issue facing the country and Swaminathan could be best trusted to tackle them.
“If loan waiver is not the final solution, there must be some way out to address the crisis. And who better for this than Swaminathan?” said Thackeray.
However, other parties and some leaders from within the Sena said Uddhav’s suggestion seemed like a bid to score brownie points on the farmers’ issue.
“Mixing farmer problems with Presidential polls will undermine the image of the Sena,” said a party leader.
NCP senior leader Ajit Pawar said: “The Shiv Sena may try to show its concern for the farmers. but it will never walk out from the BJP government in Maharashtra or at the Centre.”
Congress leader of opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil also criticised the Sena. The leader said: “Their entire effort is to show that they are doing something for the farmers. But if they were really that concerned, they would have resigned from the government and taken to the streets.”