New Delhi: Ahead of forthcoming Lok Sabha Elections 2019, Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) parliamentary board has decided that there would be no bar of 75 years for party leaders willing to contest the polls. However, the age bar of 75 would continue to hold for party and government positions. The decision was taken at party’s marathon meeting attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah and other members of the parliamentary board.
Though there was no official statement by the Bharatiya Janata Party on the decision, sources in the party confirmed the development would pave the way for party veterans like LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Shanta Kumar and others to contest the national polls.
Notably, Advani and Joshi are considered the top leaders of the ruling party after former Prime Minister Late Atal Bihari Vajpayee. However, they did not find a place in BJP’s parliamentary board, when Amit Shah took charge as the party president. Instead, he created a ‘Marg Darshak Mandal’ comprising them as well as Prime Minister Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
Sources said that party veterans have been authorised to take a call whether they would contest the polls or not. If reports are to be believed, the high-level meeting also discussed the criteria for ticket distribution to sitting MPs.
Advani, Joshi and other veterans of BJP likely to contest
Sources said that besides Advani (91) and Murli Manohar Joshi (84) party veterans like Shanta Kumar (85), Kalraj Mishra (77) and Bhagat Singh Koshyari (77) are also likely to be fielded in the Lok Sabha polls.
Advani, currently the oldest member of the Lok Sabha at 91 years, has represented the Gandhinagar constituency since 1991 and has been winning all the last five general elections by big margins. If Advani contests, he would become the oldest MP ever to fight the Lok Sabha elections after Ram Sunder Das of the Janata Dal-United, who won from Hajipur in 2009 at age 88 and ended his stint at the age of 93.
In the 2017 Assembly polls, the BJP faced a tough fight from the Congress. The party failed to open its account in districts like Morbi, Amreli and Gir Somnath while in Gandhinagar, it won five of the seven Assembly seats.
Joshi, who won in 2014 from Kanpur, was the BJP President between 1991 and 1993 and has also represented Allahabad and Varanasi in Parliament. In 2014, he was shifted to Kanpur after the party decided to field Narendra Modi from Varanasi.