No support if Centre nominated 'Dalit' face for vote bank: Shiv Sena

| Updated: Jun 20, 2017 03:00 IST

New Delhi [India] June 19 (ANI): Joining the critics of NDA's Presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind, Shiv Sena on Monday said it would not extend its support if the Centre is eyeing a vote bank by nominating a Dalit face for the upcoming President polls. "If someone is trying to make a Dalit a President with the purpose of gaining a vote bank then we are not with them," Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said. Thackeray, however, said that they would extend their support only if the decision was taken for the development of the nation. The Shiv Sena chief further said that they would call a meeting tomorrow to discuss the matter. "Hindustan is a Hindu nation. We proposed the name of Mohan Bhagwat. When the name of Mohan Bhagwat was sidelined we proposed the name of Swaminathan thinking of farmers... I don't care about mid-term elections. I am worried about the farmers committing suicide," he added. Meanwhile, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut alleged that Kovind's name was not discussed with the allies adding that the part president Thackeray will hold a rally in Mumbai evening to announce the party's decision. After the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government announced the name of Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind as its nominee for the upcoming presidential elections, the entire Opposition is up in arms against the Centre. The Congress said that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) took the decision without taking the grand old party into confidence. Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said that the BJP had assured that it would inform the Congress about its Presidential candidate in advance for a consensus but they informed the grand old party after taking the decision. "The Centre apprised the senior leaders, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh about the announcement over phone after taking the decision. So there is no question of mutual consent. We didn't expect this from them," said Azad. 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. Trinamool Congress(TMC) chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee didn't seem happy with the Kovind's candidature. She said that someone of the stature of President Pranab Mukherjee, or even Sushma Swaraj or Advani ji may have been made the candidate. "I am not saying that the Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind is unfit to be the President. There are other big Dalit leaders in the country. Just because he was the leader of Dalit Morcha of BJP they have made him the candidate," Mamata said. Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP)chief Mayawati said she is not satisfied with Ram Nath Kovind's political ideology, but cannot reject his Dalit background. Mayawati told ANI that it could have been better if BJP would have selected a name from a non-political background. The BSP leader further added that she would wait and watch if Opposition announces a Dalit candidate as well. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) said the way Kovind's name was announced it portends that there would be a political contest. Yechury said, "Kovind ji was the chief of RSS's Dalit branch. So somewhere it is a political fight or contest. When Home Minister Rajnath Singh and I&B minister Venkaiah Naidu came to meet us, they said that they want to build a consensus. When we asked on whom they want to build consensus, they had no answer then. They said that when they decide, they will come back to us with a proposal. But instead of coming to us with the proposal they announced the candidate. Now we will take a call." The decision, however, was welcomed by some of the political leaders including Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao. Janata Dal (United) chief and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar expressed happiness that the Bihar Governor would be the NDA's candidate for the President elections. He, however, said a detailed discussion would be held on the matter within the JD (U). He was speaking to the media here after congratulating Kovind. Nitish also said that "I had a word with Laluji and Sonia Gandhi and there will be discussion on this. I have told them about my views". Telangana Chief Minister and TRS Chief Rao also extended his support to NDA's presidential candidate after speaking to Prime Minister Modi. The election for the next President of India is to be held on July 17 as President Pranab Mukherjee will demit the office on July 24. The Election Commission of India (ECI) issued the notification in this regard and the process of the nomination has started that will continue till June 28. (ANI)