SP asks BJP to opt for a politician as Prez candidate

Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday maintained his party's aggressive stance on the issue of the Presidential polls at the much awaited meeting with BJP President Amit Shah here on Sunday.

Calling Narendra Modi the most popular leader since Independence, Shah said the Prime Minister was making all efforts to transform India into a world power by 2022, when the nation celebrates 75 years of freedom.

However, he added that "we are also known as a "Krishi pradhan desh" and hence it is appropriate that we have a person like Swaminathan" as President.Earlier, party MP Sanjay Raut demanded that Swaminathan's name be considered for President if the BJP was not ready for nominating Bhagwat.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its saffron ally in Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena could not reach a consensus on the Presidential elections and the candidates for the coveted post.

Shah urged Sena to offer support to presidential candidate.

In fact, even as the Shah-Thackeray "summit" was announced on Thursday, the Shiv Sena fired missives at neighbouring Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who is grappling with a farmers' agitation.

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"The fact that only four leaders were involved in the meeting indicates that they call the shots in the Sena and BJP".

He further said that the grand old party would not comment on NDA's Presidential nominee as of now and would meet on June 22 to formally discuss the matter.

"When the Sena talks about farmers and takes a nationalist stand over issues, attempts are made to teach us a lesson". 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 source said, "Shah said the name of the candidate would be announced by Narendra Modi". The Sena had supported Congress candidate Pratibhatai Patil (2007) against the BJP candidate Bhaironsingh Shekhawat and Congress candidate Pranab Mukherjee (2012) against BJPs candidate P A Sangma.

The BJP chief said the NDA government had taken up the cause of the downtrodden, women, tribals, farmers and weaker sections of society and did not have a single allegation of corruption against it. BJP has remained non-committal to the names though it has said it is open to discussions. He has called a meeting of Sena leaders on Tuesday to discuss it.

He said political parties had been informed of the NDA's choice.

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