BJP's ally Shiv Sena will support NDA's presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind (File Photo)
A key ally of the ruling BJP, Shiv Sena today ended the suspense on its support to NDA's presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind, saying it will back him.
The Shiv Sena announced this a day after its chief Uddhav Thackeray stated that Shiv Sena was not interested in backing Mr Kovind if his candidature is aimed at garnering Dalit votes.
"After holding discussions with our party leaders, we have decided to back the NDA presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind. After our support, I do not think it will be difficult for the BJP to get him elected," Mr Thackeray told reporters at his residence 'Matoshree' in suburban Bandra this evening.
"(BJP chief) Amit Shah had met me and requested for our support for their candidate. In turn, I suggested him two names which he said the BJP will consider," he said referring to Mr Shah's meeting with him on Sunday.
"After the BJP announced the presidential candidate, Shah once again called me and told me that the names which I had suggested were considered, but that they (BJP) had their reasons for not making them the BJP candidate," Mr Thackeray said.
Shiv Sena had earlier proposed the names of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and veteran agriculturist M S Swaminathan.
Responding to a question that if Shiv Sena will support the opposition parties if they field a Dalit candidate, Mr Thackeray said his stand will not change now.
"It is not necessary that Sena will always oppose the BJP," he said.
When asked if Shiv Sena will back opposition parties if they announce the name of either Mohan Bhagwat or MS Swaminathan, Mr Thackeray said, "I had announced names of Mohan Bhagwat and Swaminathan a week back. Had they wanted my support, they would have declared one of the names till now. But time has passed now and I will not change my decision".