By Dilip Chaware
Shiv Sena supremo and former chief minister Uddhav Thackeray is under increasing pressure from most of his party’s Lok Sabha members to support BJP’s Presidential candidate Droupadi Murmu. Such a possibility was predicted by Indsamachar last week. Indications are filtering out that Thackeray will honour their ‘request’ and declare Sena’s backing for her soon.
When Thackeray convened a meeting of the MPs in Mumbai on Monday, the MPs in unison suggested standing behind Murmu. The lone dissenting voice was that of Sanjay Raut, who has been elected to the Rajya Sabha for a fourth term. He wanted the Sena to stand behind Yashwant Sinha. Finally, the majority voice prevailed. Veteran Sena MP from Mumbai Gajanan Kirtikar said that the consensus was in favour of Murmu. He pointed out that in the past, the Sena had supported candidatures of Pranab Mukherjee and Praibha Patil, disregarding party considerations. The same can happen now, he felt.
Already, three Sena MPs have openly demanded the party’s support for Murmu. Equally significantly, seven Sena MPs did not turn up for the Monday meeting, fuelling speculation for their absence. One of them is Dr Shrikant Shinde, son of the chief minister Eknath Shinde.
Now that the supreme court is expected to take its own time for deciding the various petitions surrounding the Maharashtra developments, the saffron alliance government of Shinde and deputy chief minister Devendra Fadanvis has got down to serious work. Many important decisions are on the anvil and likely to be declared immediately after the Presidential election results.
A veteran journalist, formerly Special Correspondent, The Times of India, Mumbai.