Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray is likely to give his consent to the BJP’s Presidential candidate during the meeting with Amit Shah on Sunday. The much-awaited meeting between Shah and Thackeray will take place at Matoshree on Sunday morning.
Highly placed sources in the Shiv Sena said, “The primary objective of Shah and Thackeray meeting is related to Presidential poll. It would be followed by discussions on other current issues including the farmers loan waiver issue in the passing.”
In a candid admission, a Sena functionary said, “The Shiv Sena will not stretch the Presidential candidate issue beyond a point and will give its nod to the BJP…Whether it is Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan or union minister for external affairs Sushma Swaraj or some dark horse we have no problems.”
The Sena believes there should be an all party consensus on the most coveted post of President.
While indicating that Thackeray had suggested the name of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and agriculture scientist M S Swaminathan, Sena officials said, “We know BJP is not going to consider any of these names.” However, Sena believes their recommendations were just to test the waters and see how BJP reacted.
Citing the instance of Bhagwat, an insider said, “The idea of pressing Bhagwat’s name was keeping in mind the Hindutva agenda. The BJP has a majority at centre. So, why not a Hindutva presidential candidate from RSS which is the ideological parent body of the BJP.”
Since RSS chief himself had dismissed the Sena’s suggestion as mere entertainment, Thackeray floated Swaminathan’s name to associate it to the farmers’ cause. Finding such flip flop has evoked reactions from various quarters, Sena political managers believe they should no longer play to the gallery as stretching politics to presidential candidate would not auger well amongst its own cadre and middle class constituents.
A BJP core committee leader requesting anonymity said, “Shah’s meeting with Thackeray was to create a good will. It was also aimed at sending a strong message that all alliance partners were supporting BJP’s presidential candidate.”
While Shah-Thackeray meet is largely unstructured, sources said, “The big two could discuss any and every subject.” Moreover, insiders said, “Notwithstanding the differences which arise between Sena and BJP, the relationship between Thackeray and chief minister Devendra Fadnavis are very cordial.”