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BJP wooing dalits via Kovind: Shiv Sena

22 June 2017

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

With the Shiv Sena vocally expressing its views independently on the Presidential election, Shah is expected to bring the Maharashtra ally on board for the July 17 poll.

Responding to a poser on Sharad Pawar's candidature for the top post, Thackeray took a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president is his guru, adding it's hard to guess what is in ones heart. The Sena's first preference was RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat.After Bhagwat ruled himself out, it pitched scientist MS Swaminathan.

Mumbai: BJP president Amit Shah today ruled out resumption of bilateral cricket ties between India and Pakistan anytime soon, saying the two countries would continue to play against each other in worldwide tournaments. Shah paid a "courtesy" visit to Matoshree, the Thackeray home in suburban Bandra today afternoon.

A Shiv Sena leader who requested anonymity, however, conceded that the party had no option but "to support Kovind". He further questioned the need to hold meeting with allies if BJP did not wish to discuss the name with them.

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Kovind is likely to file his papers on June 23, Shah said in Delhi after a almost two-hour meeting of the BJP Parliamentary Board.

The Shiv Sena had earlier said it may choose an "independent" path in the election to the highest constitutional office.

AIADMK, YSR Congress and TRS, along with several regional parties, have already extended support to NDA on the presidential election.

If the Sena weighs in with support for the Opposition candidate, then any rationale for remaining in the NDA at the Centre or in a post-poll partnership with the BJP in Maharashtra just ceases to exist.

Shah landed here this morning as a part of his extensive tour programme of various states. "The Shiv Sena has always kept away from such vote-bank politics", said Thackeray at a rally to mark the party's 51st foundation day celebrations. "In the current scenario, the Sena is still out safest bet for a stable state government", a senior BJP minister said. He has called a meeting of Sena leaders on Tuesday to discuss it.