Once again, the Shiv Sena has thrown a googly in the Presidential election poll highlighting the name of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat as a candidate for the President of India post.
The Shiv Sena on Monday said that Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagat’s name should be considered as the next President of India. The Presidential election is due in July.
Senior Shiv Sena leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut said that if the dream of a "Hindu Rashtra” (Hindu nation) has to be fulfilled, then Bhagwat should be made the President.
"A Hindutatvawadi (pro Hindu) leader is the Prime Minister of the country in the form of Narendra Modi. Recently, Yogi Adityanath, another Hindutatva leader, was made the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. So, if the dream of a Hindu rashtra has to be fulfilled, then Bhagwat should be made the President,” Raut said.
Interestingly, senior BJP leader and former deputy prime minister Lal Krishna Advani and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj are being talked about as the BJP's President of India candidates. There is word is that Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar is also in the race.
Asked if he will attend the dinner hosted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss the strategy for the Presidential polls, Raut parried a direct reply, saying sumptuous food is cooked at "Matoshree" (Uddhav Thackeray's residence in Mumbai) as well.
"In the last two Presidential polls, Balasaheb (Thackeray) had gone against the flow and done what was in the interest of the nation. Even then, the Presidential candidates had come to 'Matoshree' to discuss the elections," the Sena leader said.
President Pranab Mukherjee's tenure ends in July 2017 and the next president will take over charge from July onwards. Shiv Sena has 21 MPs (18 from Lok Sabha and three from Rajya Sabha) and 63 MLA’s from the state of Maharashtra, all of which takes the total value of votes at 25,893. This makes Shiv Sena vote important in the election of the next president.
Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena has a knack for not always voting the same way as rest of the BJP allies. In the past, it has voted for Congress-backed candidates--Pratibha Patil in 2007 and Pranab Mukherjee in 2012.