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Shiv Sena Comes on Board, to Support Kovind For President as he Has 'Nice Personality'

Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray late on Tuesday announced that the party will support the The NDA Presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind.

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Updated:June 24, 2017, 5:15 PM IST
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Shiv Sena Comes on Board, to Support Kovind For President as he Has 'Nice Personality'
Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray addresses a press conference. (Image: PTI)
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New Delhi: Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray has announced his party will support BJP's presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind, thus preventing a split in the votes of the ruling alliance.

"We fully support Kovind. He has a nice personality. He has done a lot of good work," Thackeray said at a press conference on Tuesday.

Thackeray's offer of support forecloses at least one option for the Congress-led opposition, which was thinking of fielding Sushil Kumar Shinde in a bid to win over Sena votes. That was the ploy used by the Congress in 2007 when it got the Sena to vote along with it for Pratibha Patil.


The announcement comes a day after BJP announced Kovind as its candidate in an apparent bid to play the Dalit card ahead of the 2019 general elections. Thackeray had earlier indicated his party may not support Kovind if his candidature is aimed at garnering Dalit votes.

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Thackeray's offer of support forecloses at least one option for the Congress-led opposition, which was thinking of fielding Sushil Kumar Shinde in a bid to win over Sena votes. That was the ploy used by the Congress in 2007 when it got the Sena to vote along with it for Pratibha Patil.




Thackeray had said at the Sena's Foundation Day function on Monday: "If the name of Kovind is being put forward with a view to garner Dalit votes then the Sena is not interested. Sena has never indulged in the politics of hiding behind someone. We shall decide on whether or not to support the candidature of Kovind tomorrow (Tuesday)."

After the BJP announced Kovind's name as its presidential candidate, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a tweet, said that Kovind will make for an "exceptional President".

ALSO Read | Ram Nath Kovind, BJP's Presidential Pick, Resigns as Bihar Governor

Thackeray had reportedly told visiting BJP chief Amit Shah on Sunday that the Sena would take a call on supporting the NDA nominee for the top constitutional post only after BJP reveals its choice. Shah had called on Thackeray at his residence.

Prior to his candidature, Kovind was serving as the Governor of Bihar. He was a Central Government Advocate in the Delhi High Court from 1977 to 1979 and a Central Government Standing Counsel in the Supreme Court from 1980 to 1993. Kovind became a Rajya Sabha MP in April 1994 from Uttar Pradesh and served for two consecutive terms for 12 years till March 2006. He has served as a member in many important Parliamentary committees, including those on welfare of scheduled castes/tribes, home affairs, petroleum and natural gas, social justice and empowerment and law and justice. He was also chairman of Rajya Sabha House Committee.
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