Declare presidential candidate, then seek Shiv Sena support, Uddhav Thackeray tells Amit Shah

New Delhi, June 18New Delhi, June 18Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday is learnt to have told Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Amit Shah that the party should first decide on a name for the presidential candidate and then seek support of its allies. Shah today held a close-door meeting with Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray as part of the ruling party’s efforts to ensure support of allies in the presidential election.According to a source in the Shiv Sena, Shah told Thackeray that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would decide the NDA’s candidate for the highest constitutional post.To this, the Sena chief said they would take a call on support after the BJP reveals its choice for president, the source said.Shah was accompanied with Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis as he visited Thackeray’s residence ‘Matoshree’ at around 9:45 am today. The meeting with Thackeray lasted for one-and-a-half hour.BJP state unit chief Raosaheb Danve, who had gone to Thackeray’s residence, and senior Sena MP Sanjay Raut, a close aide of the party president, were not part of the meeting.The meeting comes a day after the BJP chief, who is  here on a three-day visit to strengthen the party organisation in the state, said his party would consult its allies before finalising the NDA’s presidential candidate.
The Shiv Sena, the BJP’s oldest ally, had earlier said it may choose an “independent” path in the election to the highest constitutional office.
It had backed Congress nominees – Pratibha Patil and Pranab Mukherjee – in the last two presidential elections.
The Sena, which has often been critical of the BJP and the Modi government, recently suggested the name of MS Swaminathan, the father of India’s Green Revolution, for President.
Asked about Fadnavis’ remark that the BJP was prepared for snap Assembly elections, in an apparent reference to the continued strain in ties with the Shiv Sena, Shah yesterday said, “What he meant was that if mid-term polls are forced on us, we are ready to fight.”
On the recent farm loan waiver announced by the Maharashtra government, Shah had said through it the state was offering relief to farmers.
“The burden of loan waiver will be on the government and not banks,” he had said.

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