Presidential polls 2017: Amit Shah, Fadnavis meet Uddhav Thackeray

As the days to file the nomination of the candidate for the Presidential election gets closer, top BJP leaders have been meeting opposition party leaders for the consensus.

The taunt came a day after BJP president Amit Shah met Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray to discuss next month's presidential polls.

However, Thackeray reiterated his pet names for the top post - RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and agro-scientist MS Swaminathan.

The meeting assumes significance for the BJP as the Shiv Sena is the most vocal critic of the party, the Prime Minister and also its Maharashtra alliance partner Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

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Thackeray is also understood to have informed Shah that the BJP must announce first its candidate for Presidency before his party can take a decision on whether to support the nominee.

With the Sena realising how much the BJP needs it for July's presidential polls, the saffron party is pushing for a hard bargain. "The Sena must be kept in the loop and should be part of the consultation process", Uddhav told Shah, according to sources. The Sena, which has ceded ground to the BJP in both parliamentary and state elections, is desperate to shore up its political fortunes, rarely passing up an opportunity to needle the BJP when it is cornered by the Opposition.

The presidential candidates are expected to file the requisite papers by June 28.

Sena sources said Mr Shah sought support from the ally for the common presidential candidate.

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Congress candidate Pratibha Patil in the presidential election in 2007 and Pranab Mukherjee in 2012, going against BJP candidates then.

The Shiv Sena had earlier said it may choose an "independent" path in the election to the highest constitutional office. "We will tolerate the Sena only for that", a senior BJP minister said.

The Sena chief said he offered prayers on Thursday at the Gajanan Maharaj Temple in Pune to give strength to the government to implement its promise of farm loans waiver.

We have heard that the BJP has constituted a three member committee in the connection.

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Speaking at a press conference in Mumbai, Shah recently said the BJP was ready for mid-term polls in Maharashtra.

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