Opposition to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial choice received a tonic on Tuesday with the Shiv Sena endorsing its support for Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj in the race.
“We feel Sushma Swaraj is a suitable candidate for the PM’s post,” Sena MP and party spokesman Sanjay Raut, told reporters here.
According to Mr. Raut, deceased Sena patriarch Bal Thackeray had also backed Ms. Swaraj as the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate.
The Sena’s support for Ms. Swaraj comes a day after senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha vociferously backed Mr. Modi’s candidacy, causing consternation within the Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal (United).
According to Mr. Sinha, the BJP would ‘hugely gain’ by projecting Mr. Modi as Prime Minister.
The Sena had recently castigated the Gujarat Chief Minister for permitting the Pakistan cricket team to play at Rajkot.
An editorial in the party mouthpiece Saamana had said that while the Gujarat government turned away a 22-member Pakistani delegation that had come for the ‘Vibrant Gujarat’ summit, it allowed the cricket team to play.
“The Gujarat government should have turned the Pakistan team away … Maharashtra and Gujarat must join forces to battle against Pakistan,” said Sena president Uddhav Thackeray in the editorial.