"For the first time, we (BJP-led NDA) have received such a strong political mandate. The formation of a Hindu Rashtra is the primary objective and hence, Bhagwat should contest the presidential election," he said.
In March, Sena lawmaker Sanjay Raut had said, "We hear that the name of Mohan Bhagwat is being considered and if so, I think it is right and the BJP should consider his name." But he had also added that Mr Thackeray would take a final call on whom the party would support.
The BJP's recent victory in the assembly elections of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand stacked the numbers in electoral college - the body that chooses the President -in its favour. The Electoral College comprises 776 parliamentarians and 4,120 legislators. Its total strength is 10,98,882 votes and the halfway mark is 5,49,442 votes. Even counting the support of ally Shiv Sena - which has lately been proxy opposition to the BJP -- the NDA will fall short of 25,000 votes.
The Congress has also said it would consider a consensus candidate only if the Prime Minister consults them - a scenario party leader say is unlikely. Party leaders have said they are also open to a second term for President Mukherjee - who, however, said he would be ready to consider it only if the government asks him.
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