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Shiv Sena will stay with NDA in Presidential polls: Munde

Written by: Staff

Nagpur, June 21 (UNI) BJP vice-president Gopinath Munde today expressed confidence that its ally Shiv Sena would stay with the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), of which both parties are constituents, for the July 19 Presidential polls.

Speaking to newspersons here, Mr Munde said the alliance between the BJP and the Shiv Sena was 22-year-old, the longest in the country.

''I am, therefore, confident that a way out would be found. There have been differences between us earlier on certain issues, but these have been amicably resolved,'' he said.

The Shiv Sena knew that United Progressive Alliance (UPA) candidate Pratibha Patil hailed from Gujarat and had married a Shekhawat, Mr Munde said.

The party also supported Hinduism and was against granting pardon to Afzal Guru, prime accused in the 2001 Parliament attack case, he said.

In any case, the Shiv Sena has not yet made a decision on the issue and would make its stand known on June 25, he pointed out.

Asked to comment on the controversy over the 'non-Marathi' roots of Ms Patil, Mr Munde said discussion on the issue was improper.

''It does not matter which region a candidate (for the Presidential poll) is from. I do not want to discuss that,'' he said, when Sushilkumar Shinde contested the last election for Vice-President ship or Manohar Joshi for the post of Lok Sabha Speaker, it did not matter that they were Maharashtrians, he reiterated.

Mr Munde said the gender of the Presidential candidate was also not important.

''As far as we are concerned, Ms Patil is the UPA nominee. Nobody is going to vote for or against her only because the candidate is a woman,'' the senior BJP leader said.

The BJP would support outgoing President A P J Abdul Kalam for a second term in office if there was a consensus on his name across the political spectrum, he reiterated.

Replying to questions, Mr Munde said the decision to grant pardon to a convict on death row had to be made by the President and the Union Cabinet together. The Cabinet sends a proposal to the President, who then makes a decision. Neither the President nor the Cabinet could make a decision suo motu or in isolation, he added.

Mr Munde was in the city to attend a three-day meeting of the party's Maharashtra unit executive, which began here this afternoon.

The full executive meets here for two days from tomorrow.


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