Mumbai: State BJP President Raosaheb Danve had to face humiliation at the hands of Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday while the former accompanied with BJP national president Amit Shah to a meeting called to discuss on the choice of NDA’s presidential nominee. Sources in the meeting informed that Danve was not allowed to participate in the discussion as Thackeray was at loggerheads with him following the recent incident in which Danve allegedly snapped at a farmer who questioned him about the handling of farmers’ issues.
Moreover Sena also trashed Shah’s idea that Prime Minister Narendra Modi be given the sole authority to pick a presidential candidate. Sena sources said, that the party was “not agreeable” to giving PM Modi the sole authority to decide on a presidential nominee.
Insiders claim that opposition of Danve however emanated from the fact that Sena was rued at Modi’s authority.
A replacement for President Pranab Mukherjee has to be found before mid-July and Mr Shah is canvassing support for the NDA’s presidential candidate – a mission for which the BJP has also reached out to the opposition.
For Sena, the Presidential election is a contentious issue and the party has indicted that it might vote “independently”. Earlier, the Sena had also signaled its displeasure when it was suggested that PM Modi lead the NDA in the 2019 general elections. The proposal, floated by ally Ram Vilas Paswan, was opposed by Mr Thackeray, who had attended the NDA meeting in May
The hour-long meeting at Mr Thackeray’s house “Matoshree” on Sunday was attended by his son Aaditya Thackeray and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
The Sena had been rooting for Mohan Bhagwat – the chief of BJP’s ideological mentor Rashtraiya Swayamsevak Sangh – for the President’s post. While the BJP did not respond and Mr Bhagwat said he was disinclined to the job, the Sena last week floated another name: 91-year-old agricultural scientist MS Swaminathan, who is known as the father of Green Revolution.
In the last two presidential elections Shiv Sena had supported UPA candidates Pranab Mukherjee and Pratibha Patil.
A series of meetings between the government and various opposition leaders had taken place since Friday. The government had been represented by three senior ministers – Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and Venkaiah Naidu. The leaders contacted included Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and CPM leader Sitaram Yechury.
The opposition has complained that the BJP has come without any names and the Congress said the government was seeking cooperation, not consensus. Mr Shah had dismissed the claims, saying had any name been cited, the opposition would have complained that the government has already made up its mind.