Mumbai, June 20: Shiv Sena’s executive president Uddhav Thackeray has clarified that backing UPA nominee Pranab Mukherjee for the coveted post of President of India does not mean his political outfit is supporting the ruling Congress Party.
“Our support is not to the Congress. You must have read the statement of Balasaheb (Thackeray) where he said that the President is the country’s highest constitutional post,” said Thackeray.
“Last time, we had supported Pratibha Tai (Pratibha Patil), and T. N. Seshan before that. This does not mean that we are leaving the NDA for the Congress,” he added.
Thackeray further said that the Shiv Sena perceives Pranab Mukherjee as a good candidate for the President’s post.
“The NDA, of which we are a part, has not decided upon a Presidential candidate. Therefore we perceive Pranab Mukherjee as a good candidate, whose career we have all seen,” he said.
Uddhav Thackeray’s father and Shiv Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray had written in support of Mukherjee’s bid in the party mouthpiece ‘Saamna’.
Bal Thackeray, in a statement in Saamna, cited consensus as the reason for his party’s support to Mukherjee.
“Let us show to the world that we are one,’” he said, and took potshots at the various political parties for lowering the prestige of the office of India’s President.
The BJP is yet to take a decision on the presidential candidate. Moreover, Kalam’s decision not to contest the presidential poll has now imposed more pressure on the BJP, as they will now either have to back Sangma or come out with a new name for the coveted post after holding due consultations.
The NDA during its nearly two-hour long meeting on Sunday failed to firm up a position on the presidential election, as it was divided over opposing UPA nominee Pranab Mukherjee and there was lack of clarity on extending support to Sangma.
The presidential elections will be held on July 19. The vote count will take place on July 22.
Pratibha Devisingh Patil’s term as President ends on July 24.(ANI)