NEW DELHI: The BJP appears to have shed remnants of the bond with the old guards in the party by phasing seniors out of electoral politics.
The omission of the likes of veteran L K Advani from the first list of candidates unveiled by the saffron outfit on Thursday demonstrated a generational change, with the party extending age ceiling, earlier applicable on government positions, to even elections.
While the BJP Parliamentary Board had left the decision on whether to contest or not on the veterans, sources said the party leadership had conveyed to them that there’s a need to groom new leadership. “The age limit of 75 years, which had been an unofficial ceiling for ministerial position, was applied for the party veterans. The top brass wants prospective Lok Sabha MPs to be active in their parliamentary constituencies and become assertive faces of the government on the ground,” said a senior BJP functionary.
Bringing curtains on five decades of active politics of Advani, BJP chief Amit Shah succeeded the veteran in the Gandhinagar constituency.
Veterans B C Khanduri and B S Koshyari, too, met Advani’s fate, with the party denying them re-nominations. Murli Manohar Joshi and Shanta Kumar are also likely to be denied re-nomination. Kalraj Mishra chose to announce that he was quitting electoral politics before the party came out with its first list.
Interestingly, Shah chose to give a detailed explanation for denying nomination to Assam minister Himanta Bisse Sarma despite strong demands from the state unit, but didn’t offer similar explanations for omitting party veterans.
“The party will find different roles for the veterans, which may include gubernatorial positions or Rajya Sabha nominations. A clear distinction has been made for the candidates for Lok Sabha polls, where performances on various parameters have been taken into account,” he added.
Fielding assertive faces
“The age limit of 75 years, which had been an unofficial ceiling for a ministerial position, was applied to the party veterans. The top brass wants prospective Lok Sabha MPs to be active in their parliamentary constituencies and become assertive faces of the government on the ground,” said a BJP functionary.