The Shiv Sena on Tuesday voiced its support for Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj as National Democratic Alliance’s prime ministerial candidate, a day after senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Yashwant Sinha backed Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for it.
"We feel Sushma Swaraj is the suitable candidate for the PM's post," Sanjay Raut, Sena spokesman and Member of Parliament, told media persons in Mumbai.
Late Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray had also pitched for Swaraj as BJP-led NDA’s prime ministerial candidate, he said.
Sena had recently slammed Modi, the BJP’s Hindutva poster-boy, for allowing the Pakistan cricket team to play a match at Rajkot.
An editorial in the Sena mouthpiece Saamana had said that while the Gujarat government had turned away a 22-member Pakistani delegation, which had come down to participate in the ‘Vibrant Gujarat’ summit, due to India's strained relations with that country, "a fortnight ago, the entire Pakistani cricket team was playing in Rajkot".
"If Modi government had sent the Pakistani cricketers back in a similar manner, there would have been another feather of patriotism in Gujarat’s cap. Maharashtra and Gujarat must join hands to fight the battle against the Pakistanis," said the editorial in the newspaper, which has Sena president Uddhav Thackeray as the editor.
Notwithstanding NDA ally Janata Dal-United’s reservations over Modi as BJP's prime ministerial candidate, Sinha had pitched for the Gujarat strongman, claiming it will have a huge electoral benefit.
Sinha had advised JD-U not to target Modi and accept BJP's decision in ‘good grace’ without picking and choosing who is secular and who is not.
"After careful thought, I have concluded that if BJP declares Modi as its PM candidate, then BJP will benefit hugely in the elections. It will have a big impact on voters. I have no doubt on this," Sinha had said, adding the party could bag "far more seats" than was being estimated.