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New Delhi: Veteran Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) politician and former Union minister Jaswant Singh said that a generational change in the party was inevitable, but cautioned that change should be “evolutionary and not revolutionary."

Jaswant Singh’s remarks come after complaints by some senior BJP leaders that attempts were underway to block them from fighting the next general elections on the party’s ticket.

“Generational change in BJP is a welcome development. It is inevitable. The process should be evolutionary and not revolutionary. The method has to be not through guillotine but evolution, it should not be through execution," said Jaswant Singh, 76, in an interview.

The remarks come ahead of Lok Sabha elections expected to take place in April-May, with the BJP having anointed Narendra Modi, 63, as its prime ministerial candidate as it bids to regain power after back-to-back defeats in 2004 and 2009. The first to highlight the generational issue was former finance minister Yashwant Sinha, 76, who said openly that his opponents within the BJP were trying to block him from contesting the election on the party’s slate.

Last month, after reports that the BJP was considering offering Rajya Sabha tickets to veterans L.K. Advani, 86, and M.M. Joshi, 80, Advani said categorically that he will contest the Lok Sabha poll from Gandhinagar, Gujarat’s capital. Joshi also told BJP leaders that he wants to contest the Lok Sabha election from Varanasi, his present constituency.

Jaswant Singh, who is a member of Parliament (MP) from Darjeeling, wants to return to the Barmer-Jaisalmer constituency in the 2014 Lok Sabha election.

“I have served the people of Darjeeling. This will be my last election. People call me and they have asked me to contest from Barmer-Jaisalmer areas. I have served nine terms in Parliament, represented Jodhpur and Chittaur. In this election I want to contest from Barmer-Jaisalmer area," Jaswant Singh said.

A section of the BJP’s new leadership admits that some younger politicians in the party want members of the old generation to be eased out but may not be bold enough to voice the demand openly. “The younger generation will be impatient," Jaswant Singh said. “It is part of the nature. The cub of a lion tries to create its own pride. The process should not be a scramble, not a revolution. The Janata Party government (of the 1970s) was also a combination of youth and experience. Morarji Desai, Charan Singh, the generation eased out after they had performed their task," said Singh.

The generational tussle came out in the open after Modi, the Gujarat chief minister, was appointed chief of the BJP’s election campaign committee in June last year in the absence of Advani. The BJP leader resigned soon from the party’s parliamentary board after the announcement, but he was persuaded by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and party leaders to take back his resignation.

Political analysts suggest that while the main opposition party is moving towards a generational change, Advani, Joshi and Jaswant Singh will likely contest the Lok Sabha election in 2014 because the BJP would not want to give an impression of disunity.

“There can be rumours and talks but these three leaders will contest election. This is an election year and BJP will not do anything to allow voices of dissent in the party," said Sanjay Kumar, a fellow at Centre for the Study of Developing Societies. “BJP is moving towards generational change yet they will give election tickets to all three senior leaders."

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