Shiv Sena floats the name of M S Swaminathan for post of President

Shiv Sena floats the name of M S Swaminathan for post of President
After initially pitching for RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat as the next president, the Shiv Sena on Friday floated the name of agriculture scientist  MS Swaminathan for the top post.

"If we want to make a Hindu rashtra, it is Mohan Bhagwat....he is our first choice, first preference," Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray said.  

However, he went on to add that should there be any opposition to the name of Mohan Bhagwat, he was backing the name of Swaminathan.  "Like Hindu rashtra, we are also known as krishi-pradhan desh...and hence it is appropriate that we should have president like MS Swaminathan," he said.

The Shiv Sena's statement comes on a day when BJP president Amit Shah arrived on a three-day visit to Mumbai. Shah is scheduled to visit Thackeray on Sunday. The meeting assumes significance in the wake of June-July, 2017, presidential elections. The suggestion comes a day after Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said that BJP was ready for mid-term polls - in what is being seen as a snub to Shiv Sena for repeated criticism for the ruling party and its leaders including prime minister Narendra Modi and also skipping a weekly Cabinet meeting.

Going against the NDA view, the Shiv Sena founder late Balasaheb Thackeray had supported Congress nominees - Pratibha Patil and Pranab Mukherjee in the Presidential elections in 2002 and 2012 .  While Patil got the support on the ground that she was a Maharashtrian, Mukherjee had personal relations with the Thackeray family. The Sena with 18 MPs and 63 MLAs has 25,893 votes in the electoral college. From Maharashtra, the support of an MP translates to 708 votes, and an MLA’s vote translates to 175 votes.

Swaminathan, 91, is known as the 'Father of Green Revolution' and a recepient of Padma Shree, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan and several other national and international awards. Currently  the founder and chairman of the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation, he works on removing hunger and poverty from the world. In 2014, he was made chairman of the National Commission on Farmers, which gave a report to the Centre.

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