Earlier, Shiv Sena had proposed the name of Swaminathan for the post of President. It had initially pitched the name of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat for the top job.
The pitching of the agro-scientist’s name and backing Shiv Sena’s candidature reflects Congress’ strategy to give spark to Sena’s dissension as right-wing partyt has been at loggerheads with the BJP since 2014 general elections.
Former Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar, ex-Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde; Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh leader and grandson of Dr B R Ambedkar, Prakash Yashwant, and retired diplomat Gopal Krishna Gandhi are some of the names the opposition parties are considering.
Reports say two key Opposition parties are said to be in favour of Shinde because he is from Maharashtra, where the Shiv Sena is yet to give a commitment to the BJP.
These two parties feel that every effort must be made to keep the Sena on the Opposition's side in the presidential election. Prakash too hails from Maharashtra, which strengthens his credentials as well.
One overriding feeling among Opposition parties has been that the government had not sincerely tried to evolve a consensus.