The Shiv Sena on Monday urged the Modi government to consider RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat for the post of Indian President.
In a surprise statement, Sena MP and Saamana Executive Editor Sanjay Raut said the National Democratic Alliance - of which Sena is a member - and the BJP in particular should think of the RSS Sarsanghchalak if it wanted to fulfil its dream of achieving a "Hindu Rashtra".
"This has been discussed in our party. Even Sena President Uddhav Thackeray is of the opinion that for making India a 'Hindu Rashtra', Bhagwat should be made the President," Raut told mediapersons.
He said a staunch Hindu nationalist like Modi was the Prime Minister and another Hindutva proponent, Yogi Adityanath, had become Chief Minister of India's most populous state Uttar Pradesh.
"He (Bhagwat) is a strong leader, staunch nationalist, has a deep knowledge of the Constituition. So if the BJP wants to make India a 'Hindu Rashtra', his name must be considered. He is the most suitable candidate," Raut said.
Born in Chandrapur in Vidarbha region of Maharashtra, Bhagwat, 66, has headed the RSS since March 2009.
The presidential election is due in July.