BJP backs Amit Shah's statement ruling out Indo-Pak 'bilateral' cricket

The BJP chief Amit Shah is likely to meet the Shiv Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray during his Maharashtra visit beginning Friday.

The presidential election is expected to be a close affair this time as neither the ruling BJP nor the opposition parties have the numbers on their side to unilaterally elect the next president of India, the highest post in the country. He said if BJP proposed a name to them, there would not be discussion. To this, the Sena chief said they would take a call on support after the BJP reveals its choice for president, the source said.

Later, state BJP chief Raosaheb Danve attempted so soothe ruffled feathers on both sides, saying Fadnavis did not mean mid-term elections will be held but merely the BJP as a party was ready for it.

The meeting was part of the BJP's strategy to evolve a consensus among all political parties over the Presidential polls and to ensure the support of its oldest ally, the Shiv Sena, for the NDA nominee.

Only last week, the Sena claimed that it could take an independent line on presidential elections, creating a flutter in the BJP.

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"Once the names have been suggested, we will finalise our name for the post of president", he said.

BJP president Amit Shah pointed out towards the party policy of considering the welfare of the Nation on priority basis.

"We will consult all our allies and then reach a decision on the presidential poll nominee", he said. Mr Shah said had any name been cited, the opposition would have complained that the government has already made up its mind. On the recent farm loan waiver announced by the Maharashtra government, Shah had said through it the state was offering relief to farmers.

The Sena statements came barely 48 hours before a Shah-Thackeray "summit" scheduled for Sunday morning to solicit and secure its support for an NDA candidate for the Rashtrapati Bhavan. "We shall fully support them", he said sarcastically.

With the Sena releasing how much the BJP's needs it for July's presidential polls, the saffron party is pushing the BJP for a hard bargain.

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