New Delhi: In a scathing attack on the NDA, Shiv Sena Executive President Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday said that it's sad that the Opposition could not find a candidate for the Presidebtial race. He also said that his party's support for Pranab Mukherjee as President did not mean support for the Congress.
"It's sad that NDA couldn't find a presidential candidate in such a vast country. The NDA is indecisive, it need to get on the right path. For 2014 polls, we need to begin preparing now,” he said.
Despite a dominant section in the BJP as well as its patron RSS in favour of a contest, ally Shiv Sena declared its support for Pranab Mukherjee while another constituent of the Opposition alliance JD (U) stopped short of making its support to UPA nominee public.
Uddhav Thackeray said that his party\'s support for Pranab Mukherjee as President did not mean support for the Congress.
The BJP is in a bind over its plan to back Sangma for the Presidential candidate. The party's strategy on a contest against Pranab Mukherjee in the Presidential poll has backfired with the allies isolating it. While the Shiv Sena has openly endorsed Pranab, the JD(U) and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) are not in favour of a contest against him. The BJP leadership feels it can ultimately prevail over allies like the Shiv Sena and the JD(U) in its move to support Sangma's nomination.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Shiv Sena in its mouthpiece 'Saamna' confirmed its support for UPA's Presidential nominee Pranab Mukherjee.
Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray in the editorial said, "Nobody should accuse Shiv Sena of 'vishwasghaat'. The decision was purely based on national interest." "The dignity of the nation should not be compromised for narrow political gains. If you don't have a sword don't enter the battlefield. We should all come together and back Pranab Mukherjee and show the world we are united," he added.
Shiv Sena had also skipped the NDA meeting on Sunday to discuss the President poll. At the two-hour meeting, JDU leader Shivanand Tiwari is believed to have disfavoured a contest against Pranab because of his stature, reflecting a divide in the coalition.
The ruling UPA too experienced the most dramatic turn of events with eight-year-old ally Trinamool Congress rejecting the official nominee of the alliance Pranab Mukherjee and backing a candidate in APJ Abdul Kalam, who refused to contest finally.
As Congress is still hopeful of mollifying Mamata to vote for its nominee, Shakeel Ahmad, AICC in-charge of West Bengal expressed confidence "Mamata Banerjee was our valued ally, Mamata Banerjee is our valued ally and Mamata Banerjee will remain our valued ally".
On Monday, BJP MP Maneka Gandhi batted for Pranab Mukherjee hailing him as an "excellent candidate" for the post even as BJP is yet to firm a position on either contest or consensus on the Presidential election. Gandhi said the election of the President should be by a consensus.
While UPA ally Sharad Pawar is canvassing support for Mukherjee, his party leader PA Sangama, backed by BJD and AIADMK, has so far refused to back out despite dismissal threats by the party.
The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) said on Tuesday that they were looking for a candidate from the "Third Front", but since there isn't one, they will hold discussions with other political parties and then come out with its decision.
Meanwhile, Congress MP and Law Minister Salman Khurshid said the UPA was confident that Pranab Mukherjee will be elected as the President of India.