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Presidential elections: Shiv Sena supports BJP candidate Ram Nath Kovind

LiveMint logoLiveMint 20-06-2017 Abhiram Ghadyalpatil

Mumbai: The Shiv Sena on Tuesday decided to support Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) presidential election nominee Ram Nath Kovind. Sena president Uddhav Thackeray told reporters that party leaders had decided to support Kovind since they thought “he was a good person and would do well for the country”.

With Shiv Sena’s support, the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has rallied behind Kovind.

On Monday, Thackeray had accused the BJP of indulging in “vote bank politics” by proposing a Dalit for the president’s office. He had also said that the Sena would not support the BJP nominee if he was picked only because he was a Dalit. Asked about his earlier charge of caste politics, Thackeray said this question should be asked of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“Ask this question to Narendrabhai. He has selected Kovind,” Thackeray said. He denied that the Sena had done a U-turn. “We had proposed two names as the presidential nominee. We suggested RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) chief Mohanji Bhagwat’s name since this is a Hindu Rashtra and he would have been the ideal head of state. I still maintain that position. We also suggested (agriculture scientist M.S.) Swaminathan’s name but I was told that he has some health issues,” Thackeray said.

Meanwhile, Kovind resigned on Tuesday as governor of Bihar and President Pranab Mukherjee accepted his resignation. West Bengal governor Keshari Nath Tripathi has been given temporary charge of Bihar.

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