Uddhav Thackeray suggests Father of Green Revolution as Prez

The Asian Age.  | Amey Tirodkar and Shruti Ganapatye

Metros, Mumbai

Shiv Sena has also threatened to withdraw support from the government on a few occasions.

Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray (Photo: PTI)

Mumbai: After backing Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat for the post of President, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray also suggested the name of M.S. Swaminathan, the father of the Green Revolution, as a second option in case the BJP does not agree with Mr Bhagwat’s name.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is in a fix, as it cannot oppose Mr Bhagwat’s name. Also, BJP president Amit Shah, who is on a three-day Mumbai visit, will meet Mr Thackeray on Sunday. Both leaders are expected to hold talks on the upcoming Presidential elections and the stability of the BJP-led coalition government in Maharashtra.

“Our stand is very clear about the President’s post. Mohan Bhagwat is our first choice. But if anyone has problem with this, Swaminathan should be made President. This is our conviction. If the loan waiver is not an option to prevent farmer suicides, make Swaminathan the President,” Mr Thackeray said at his residence, Matoshree.

Mr Thackeray said Shiv Sena wanted an uncontroversial presidential election and it would support a good candidate even if they were suggested by the BJP.

Mr Thackeray was referring to recent farmers’ strike in Maharashtra in the wake of which the BJP-led state government declared a loan waiver.

Earlier on Friday, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut had said, “Before the Lok Sab-ha polls, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had in-principle agreed to implement all recommendations of the Swaminathan Committee report. Even after coming to power, he assured all of fulfilling his promise. Therefore, an eminent person like him (Swaminathan) is fit to hold the President’s post. Uddhavji will recommend his name to Amit Shah when he calls on him at Matoshree.”

The Sena had earlier said the nation needs a person who can seal its fate as a ‘Hindu Rashtra.’ However, BJP has not reacted on the issue yet. The BJP is tight-lipped about their candidate for the post but discussing the issue with all parties including opposition.

Bitterness between the two alliance partners has increased in the last three years.

Shiv Sena has also threatened to withdraw support from the government on a few occasions.

The BJP leadership, which was earlier very reluctant to talk to Mr Thackeray on any issue, had softened its stand ahead of crucial Presidential election as the Shiv Sena has almost 25,000 votes in its pocket.