Uddhav Thackeray
Uddhav Thackeray

Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray has reportedly told BJP's Amit Shah to declare a candidate for the presidential polls before seeking his party's 25,000 votes. The Sena is learnt to have pledged its support to NDA's candidate.

Shah and Uddhav met at the latter's Kalanagar residence yesterday. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and state BJP president Raosaheb Danve were present too.

Sources said Uddhav pressed for RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat's candidature and told Shah that if Bhagwat wasn't willing or wasn't picked, farm scientist MS Swaminathan should be considered. But he also assured that his party would remain with the BJP in these elections.

Shah is said to have told Uddhav that no name was decided and that PM Narendra Modi would declare it officially on NDA's behalf.

Sena has voted against NDA's candidates in the last two polls, going by regionalism and the connect a particular candidate has with the Sena. And because Sena votes are very important for a stronger victory, the BJP is getting other parties — friends and foes — on its side, so that in the event of the Sena rejecting its choice, a victory is still ensured.

The BJP may yet again go for a Marathi candidate, such as computer scientist Vijay Bhatkar or MP Narendra Jadhav or someone who has Sena's approval already.