Sixteen Shiv Sena MPs on Monday asked former Chief Minister and party president Uddhav Thackeray to support National Democratic Alliance’s presidential candidate Droupadi Murmu, NDTV reported.
Shiv Sena MP Gajanan Kirtikar, who attended a meeting at Thackeray’s house, said that all the 16 MPs agreed they should vote for Murmu as she is an adivasi.
On Monday, two Shiv Sena MPs were absent for the meeting, Kirtikar said. Shiv Sena’s former chief whip in the Lok Sabha Bhavana Gawali and Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s son Shrikant Shinde skipped the meeting, ANI reported.
Kirtikar said that all MPs present asked Thackeray to support Murmu.
“Uddhav ji told us that he will tell us his decision in a day or two,” he added.
Kirtikar also said that all political leaders should “see beyond politics” for the upcoming presidential elections, ANI reported.
“We had supported Pratibha Patil, a UPA candidate, as she’s a Marathi woman,” he said. “We had supported Pranab Mukherjee, a UPA candidate. Uddhav ji will announce support to her [Droupadi Murmu] as she’s an adivasi.”
On July 5, Sena MP Rahul Shewale had asked Thackeray to vote for Murmu. However, Thackeray had not responded to the demand, NDTV reported.
A threat looms large for Shiv Sena in Parliament with the party’s MPs seeking to support the NDA candidate. The party has already witnessed a split after 40 of its MLAs, along with Shinde, joined hands with the BJP to form a government in Maharashtra.
The crisis had started when Shinde and several other MLAs of Thackeray’s party rebelled against the Maha Vikas Aghadi – a coalition of Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party, and Congress – government in June. Subsequently, the coalition was ousted from power.
Shinde was sworn in as the Maharashtra chief minister on June 30, while BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis took oath as his deputy. On July 4, Shinde won a floor test in the Maharashtra Assembly. He got 164 votes in support, significantly above the majority mark of 145, while 99 MLAs voted against him.