Mumbai: United Progressive Alliance (UPA) presidential candidate Pranab Mukherjee late Friday called on Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray at his residence and thanked him for his party’s support to his candidature in the 19 July poll.
Mukherjee was accompanied by Agriculture Minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, who is also a good friend of Thackeray.
Speaking briefly to media persons after the meeting, Thackeray said that it is in the best interest of the country that they elect the “right president”.
Asked about Mukherjee’s competitor, opposition-backed candidate Purno Sangma, Thackeray said: “I have known Sangma since a long time. He is an old friend of mine. But friendship is to be kept aside in matters of national interest.”
Thackeray said that Mukherjee’s visit was purely to express his gratitude and that they did not discuss politics at length.
Thackeray’s son and party executive president Uddhav Thackeray was also present during the meeting. Mukherjee had earlier phoned the Sena chief to thank him for Shiv Sena’s support.
Mukherjee and Thackeray also shared some light moments as the latter shared his book of cartoons with him where both were seen smiling about a particularly interesting cartoon.
The UPA candidate also met leaders of all state political parties supporting him.
The Shiv Sena had announced its support to Mukherjee’s candidature in the “national interest”, a decision that upset its state alliance partner Bharatiya Janata Party, which is backing Sangma.