Even a couple of days prior to Amit Shah calling on Uddhav Thackeray at his residence to discuss the presidential elections, the Maharashtra chief minister had spoken of mid-term elections as something that would favour the BJP, obviously at the cost of Sena's 63 seats.
"The Shiv Sena has chose to support Ram Nath ji", said Uddhav, after a meeting of party leaders on Monday.
"Why should the Sena be supportive if you plan to put up a Dalit candidate only for the sake of Dalit votes".
The Sena's attack on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came barely 24 hours after Shah and Thackeray met in Mumbai for 75 minutes amid optimism of a thaw in the chilled relations between the two allies of almost three decades. If that is so, we are not interested in backing him.
According to sources, "Shiv Sena's support is crucial for NDA as the party has a total vote pool of around 25, 893".
After Shiv Sena endorsed Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat's name for presidential nominee, the right-wing organization on Saturday said the former had dialed a wrong number. "But time has passed now and I will not change my decision". If Sena's votes don't go into the ballot box in support of Kovind but remain neutral, the candidate's chances do not dim one whit. "But if anybody has objections to him, then Swaminathan should be made the President", Thackeray told media persons. The Shiv Sena also enjoys support in a significant section of Hindu Dalits in Maharashtra. He has served twice as a Rajya Sabha member and is a trained lawyer.
The Congress-led UPA has 15 MPs from the state in both the houses of Parliament.
On the recent farm loan waiver announced by the Maharashtra government, Shah had said through it the state was offering relief to the farmers.
"Shivsainik is not just a burning ember, but will rise like a forest fire", he had said.