NEW DELHI :
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has denied tickets to veterans leaders, who were instrumental in building the party, as part of a major makeover in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections.
Soon after coming to power in 2014, the BJP leadership under Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah decided that senior leaders aged 75 years, or more, will not hold any public office.
Now, the party has gone a step further to replace L.K. Advani, 91, the former deputy prime minister and BJP president, in Gandhinagar, besides asking another former party president and the member of Parliament (MP) from Kanpur, Murli Manohar Joshi, not to contest the general elections. Similarly, former minister Kalraj Mishra, who is an MP from the Deoria constituency in Uttar Pradesh, has also been denied a ticket this time.
“Not much should be read in this decision because the party leadership had taken a decision earlier that leaders above 75 years should not hold any public office. The decision does not mean that the party has forgotten the contribution of the senior leaders. The decision is to look at the future," said a senior BJP leader in the know of the developments, requesting anonymity.
The trend is visible across the country. In Karnataka, for example, the BJP refused to entertain the wife of former Union minister Ananth Kumar, who died of lung cancer last November, to contest from the Bengaluru South constituency, and instead, in a surprise move, gave ticket to 28-year-old Tejasvi Surya.
“The fact is that the BJP has taken a step in a new direction and it is to promote new leaders. Health and the ability to be actively involved in public life are two major reasons for taking these decisions," said the BJP leader.
Other senior BJP leaders who have been denied tickets include former Union ministers and octogenarians, B.C. Khanduri, Kariya Munda and Bijoya Chakravarty. Former Union minister and former chief minister of Himachal Pradesh Shanta Kumar has also been denied ticket to contest the Lok Sabha polls.