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Shiv Sena Agrees to Back Kovind, Opposition Braces For Contest

26 June 2017

Leaders of the non-NDA parties, including Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, NCP president Sharad Pawar and CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury, will meet on June 22 to discuss the matter, they added. "Following our support, I do not think there will be any difficulty getting Kovind elected", Uddhav Thackeray told reporters.

After landing in Delhi, he met with PM Modi and BJP National President Amit Shah.

The numbers now seem to be in favour of Kovind, the NDA nominee for the post of the President of India.

Many Sena leaders said that this was also the time when it could renegotiate its role in the NDA.Till July, the Sena would continue to play truant and embarrass the BJP on several fronts including the state.

If Sena's verbal support for Kovind materialises into action, then it would be a departure from its previous stand wherein it had supported UPA nominees in presidential polls elections on at least two occasions after ditching the BJP. "We do not want to take on the BJP (unnecessarily)", the Shiv Sena chief said, pointing to how the party had supported the GST bill after its concerns about the compensation for civic bodies were accommodated.

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Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray announced his party's support for Kovind after an internal meeting of the party's leaders at his residence, Matoshree, Bandra. "If anybody had reservations about Bhagwat, then we suggested Swaminathan for the benefit of the farmers of the country".

Meanwhile, Kovind has resigned from the gubernatorial post following his nomination as the ruling NDA's presidential candidate.

"In turn, I suggested him two names which he said the BJP will consider".

The Left parties are keen on the opposition putting up a candidate because they see the Presidential election as an "ideological battle" and the NDA candidate as an RSS-backed man. "If you put a person who works for the benefit of the entire nation than the Sena is with you", Thackeray had said while addressing a gathering of party workers during the party's 51st foundation day celebrations in Mumbai.

Mayawati told ANI that it could have been better if BJP would have selected a name from a non-political background. "If the government tries to cheat them, Sena will throw the loan waiver papers as trash", he said.

Shiv Sena Agrees to Back Kovind, Opposition Braces For Contest