BJP president Amit Shah and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday discussed the Presidential election, which sources from both sides said was “friendly and cordial” at a time their alliance has come under some strain. The 90-minute meeting at Matoshree, the Thackerays’ residence, was attended by Uddhav’s son Aditya, who leads the Sena’s youth wing, and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
Both leaders reiterated that the Sena-BJP partnership would work to complete its tenure of five years which was a mandate given by the people, the sources said. The sources confirmed that “Shah sought the support of the Shiv Sena for the Presidential polls and reassured Thackeray that the Shiv Sena would be taken into confidence while determining the candidate for the most coveted post in the country”.
Thackeray reportedly told Shah that the Sena had suggested RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and agriculture scientist M S Swaminathan for the post of President. But sensing that the BJP was not reconciled to any of the names, he said: “I would like to know your candidate for the Presidential poll.” The BJP president informed that the party’s parliamentary board meeting was yet to take place. After that, an NDA meeting would be held discuss the matter with the alliance partners.
Thackeray, according to party officials, said: “The Shiv Sena will remain with the NDA in the Presidential polls.” The Shah-Thackeray meeting assumed significance in the wake of growing bitterness between the partners over various issues, including the recent farmers’ protests. The two leaders agreed that efforts should be made to resolve differences to work together for the larger welfare of the state, including the well-being of farmers.