Sena to hold meeting to decide on NDA’s Prez nominee

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Mumbai:  Keeping up the suspense, NDA ally Shiv Sena today said party chief Uddhav Thackeray will convene a meeting of Sena leaders to decide on supporting the ruling alliance’s choice for president.

The Shiv Sena, the second largest constituent of the NDA, has had an uneasy relationship with the BJP ever since the two parties parted ways ahead of the 2014 assembly polls.

Though it later joined the BJP-led ministry in Maharashtra, Sena has continued to needle the lead partner over all vital issues including demonetisation and tension on the borders.

“Amit Shah called up Uddhavji after the NDA’s presidential candidate was decided by the BJP’s parliamentary board meeting. Shah sought the Sena’s support for Ram Nath Kovind,” Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut told reporters here.

“Uddhavji told him that he will convene a meeting of the party leaders to arrive at a decision and convey our answer to him in one or two days,” he said.

The Sena MP said Thackeray may “answer many questions later this evening” when he will address its workers on the party’s 51st foundation day.

“We had suggested two names for the post. One was of (RSS chief) Mohan Bhagwat. If they (BJP) had a problem with that, we wanted (eminent agriculturist) M S Swaminathan. But since they have chosen some other name, the party will convey to the BJP our decision soon,” Raut said.

In the 288-member Maharashtra Assembly, the BJP has 122 MLAs and claims to have support of some more legislators.

There are 67 members from Maharashtra in Parliament – 48 in the Lok Sabha and 19 in the Rajya Sabha.

The BJP-led NDA (including Sena) has total of 52 MPs.

The Sena has 21 MPs – 18 Lok Sabha and 3 Rajya Sabha members – while the BJP has 23 Lok Sabha and 5 Rajya Sabha members from the state that corresponds to a total value of 19,824.

The Congress-led UPA has 15 MPs from the state in both the Houses of Parliament. The total value of MP votes of UPA is 10,620.

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