NEW DELHI: Party veterans LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi should decide if they want to contest the Lok Sabha elections. The decision was taken at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s Parliamentary Board meeting on Friday night, said party functionaries who were privy to strategy discussions.
The highest decision-making body of the saffron outfit also concurred that the party should devote significant space to professionals from all walks of lives to contest the polls, besides laying thrust on fresh faces as candidates.
According to one of the functionaries mentioned above, party chief chief Amit Shah briefed the members of the parliamentary board — Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj, Nitin Gadkari, Arun Jaitely, Thaawarchand Gehlot, former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and organisational secretary Ram Lal — on preparations for the upcoming elections.
He also briefed them about the candidate review exercise, besides adding his own assessment on the upcoming polls.
“The Central Election Committee (CEC) of the BJP would be called at a short notice once the Election Commission announces poll dates. The BJP is ready with a list of probable candidates. We will be able to release the first list at the earliest. A broad understanding on identifying was reached during the parliamentary board meeting, which will be the guidance for the CEC meetings,” said another functionary.
Shah has reiterated on a number of occasions that the age ceiling is only for posts and not for contesting elections.
The BJP has fielded a number of candidates aged over 75 in the recent Assembly elections including the ones in the three central Indian states of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan.
21 leaders join Congress in Nagaland
The Congress in Nagaland, bolstered by the return of 21 senior leaders to its fold, vowed to put up a united fight against the “stop-gap” BJP-NDPP government in the state. Welcoming the leaders who made a comeback to the Congress, five-time chief minister and senior party leader S C Jamir said, “Congress, today is solidified”. The 21 leaders, including former Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee (NPCC) president S I Jamir, were reinducted during a programme on Friday.