New Delhi: NDA patriarch Atal Behari Vajpayee presided over a meeting which decided to back Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat for the Presidential polls.
It was a foregone conclusion but formally it needed to be discussed with the allies.
Some of them like the JD (U) had been floating other names. Bihar chief minister, Nitish Kumar wanted APJ Abdul Kalam to be renominated, Sharad Yadav was in favour of Dr Farooq Abdullah. And on Monday, the NDA spoke almost in one voice.
“The NDA has decided give full support to Bhairav Singh Shekhawat in the Presidential race,” said Vajpayee.
However, complete support has not come from all quarters, the Shiv Sena still had doubts. The decision to field Pratibha Patil, a Maharashtrian, had taken them by surprise.
Now the party has to decide whether they stand by NDA or support the woman who could be the first Maharashtian President.
Says leader, Shiv Sena, Uddhav Thackeray, “The Shiv Sena hasn't come to a final decision.''
However, the ND has decided not to back out. And their strategy to make things as uncomfortable as possible for Pratibha Patil is quite clear.
Meanwhile, the United National Progressive Alliance has complicated things for him.
It is becoming a crowded battlefield and it depends on Shekhawat's charisma now if he wants to achieve the impossible.