Prez poll: After JD(U), now Sena bats for Pranab

In a major boost to UPA Presidential candidate Pranab Mukherjee, key NDA constituent Shiv Sena assured him of its support.

Mumbai: In a major boost to UPA Presidential candidate Pranab Mukherjee, key NDA constituent Shiv Sena on Monday night assured him of its support in his bid for the top Constitutional post.

"The Sena will support Pranab Mukherjee (in the Presidential polls)," Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut told PTI tonight.

The assurance was given to Mukherjee who called up Sena chief Bal Thackeray and his son Uddhav Thackeray, the party Executive President, today, Sena sources said.

Sena, the oldest ideological ally of BJP, was understood to be concerned over the approach of NDA to the Presidential polls and disappointed about the fact that the alliance has not been able finalise its candidate.

Shiv Sena had supported Pratibha Patil in 2007, breaking ranks with BJP as Patil hailed from Maharashtra.

BJP and other NDA constituents had at that time backed late Bhairon Singh Shekhawat for the post of President.
Earlier, there were indications that BJP was pushing its
allies JD-U and Shiv Sena to agree on supporting former Lok Sabha Speaker P A Sangma and give up plans for a consensus on Mukherjee.

Sena is the oldest ideological ally of the BJP and it had supported Pratibha Patil in 2007, breaking ranks with BJP as Patil hailed from Maharashtra.

The BJP and the NDA leaders had then backed late Bhairon Singh Shekhawat for the presidential post.
PTI