Indore: While Prime Minister Narendra Modi rallied in Indore, what was conspicuous by its absence from the election posters, for the first time in 30 years, was the photograph of Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan. (Catch Complete Coverage of Lok Sabha Elections 2019 Here)
A leading daily reported that Mahajan had even told the organisers at the venue that she “hasn’t become the past, yet”. By afternoon, said the daily, pictures of the banners without Mahajan’s face had gone viral and the party leaders were being hounded by the media over the posters.
It said the party rushed to print photographs of not only Mahajan but also BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya who had also been kept out of the banners. In the last-minute arrangement, BJP chief Amit Shah’s photograph was moved and somehow, three more photos accommodated – Mahajan, a different photo of former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Vijayvargiya.
Mahajan, an undefeated eight-time MP from Indore, is not contesting the elections. A week before her 76th birthday, Mahajan opted out of the contest, reportedly tired of waiting for the party to declare the Indore candidate.
A fortnight later, the ticket went to Shankar Lalwani. And it was Lalwani’s photo, along with Dewas candidate Mahindra Singh Solanki, that was on the Modi rally banner.
The party had claimed it that it wanted the party candidate to get due attention. “No local leader has been given space on the posters. Space was limited and filling the hoarding with too many pictures might not fulfil the purpose,” BJP city president Gopikrishna Neema had said to the daily.