Kovind dials Matoshree, thanks Uddhav for support
In a deft move facilitated by Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, NDA’s presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday spoke to Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and thanked the latter for the Sena’s support to his candidature.
Unlike the previous presidential nominees Pratibha Patil and Pranab Mukherjee, who had made it point to call on late Bal Thackeray at the latter’s residence to seek the Sena’s support, Kovind skipped a visit to “Matoshree”. Instead, he spoke to Uddhav and thanked the latter for the Sena’s support.
Fadnavis facilitated a telephonic conversation between them in an effort to ensuring against any misunderstanding that might have arisen in the event of Kobind not establishing contact with Uddhav ahead of the July 17 poll.
It may be recalled that after some dilly-dallying, the Shiv Sena had on June 20 announced its support to Kovind’s presidential nomination.
Twenty four hours after he had an indirect dig at the BJP saying that his party had no interest in supporting a Dalit candidate if he had been put up merely for the sake of cornering votes in the polls, Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray did a U-turn and announced his party’s support to Kovind, whom the ruling party had announced him as the NDA candidate for the July 17, 2017 presidential poll.
“Kovind is a good presidential candidate. We are confident that he would work well for the country and take good decisions. After discussing with my party’s senior leaders, I have decided to extend the Sena’s support to Kovind’s candidature,” Uddhav had said subsequently at a news conference.
The Sena had earlier announced its support to the RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, whom it described as its first choice, and Agriculture scientist M S Swaminathan.
Earlier on Saturday morning, the BJP workers accorded a rousing reception to Kovind at the airport, on his arrival in the city to campaign for the presidential poll.
Later, the NDA’s presidential nominee interacted with the BJP MLAs and MPs, at a reception hosted by the city BJP at the Gareware Club for Kovind.
Apart from the chief minister, Union Shipping Minister and senior BJP leader Nitin Gadkari, state BJP chief Raosaheb Patil-Danve, his counterpart from Mumbai Ashish Shellar and State minister Vinod Tawade were present at the function.
Union Heavy Industries Minister Anant Geete, Maharashtra Industries Minister Subhash Desai and senior MP Chandrakant Khaire were present at the function, on behalf of the Shiv Sena.
“Uddhav ji had already announced the support,” Environment Minister Ramdas Kadam said.
“We welcome Kovindji in Mumbai. To visit ‘Matoshri’ (the Thackeray residence) or not will be his call. But we are firm on seeing him in Rashtrapati Bhavan,” Shiv Sena MP abd spokespersion Sanjay Raut tweeted.
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