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BJP to do away with 75-plus bar

Come Lok Sabha polls, the BJP will remove the age-bar on contesting and holding political posts as two of its prominent women leaders Sushma Swaraj and Uma Bharti have suo moto announced their intention to not contest and Speaker Sumitra Mahajan may be opting out of the poll. The post-2014 victory in the Lok Sabha polls led the BJP to re-write rules of the games for the party members which included retirement from active politics after 75 and diminishing chances of getting party tickets after reaching 70. The formation of Margdarshak Mandal in August, 2014, to accommodate aged veterans like LK Advani and MM Joshi had raised many eyebrows even as they also did not find seat in BJP’s Parliamentary Board, the all powerful decision-making body of the party. All that may change now with the onset of the election season. The BJP sees age 75 with no-bar for contesting Lok Sabha polls, sources in the party said. As the coming poll turning out to be a keen contest, the party would put premium on winning the seat rather than allowing “youthful experiment” a chance. The age flexibility in the candidates selection for the Lok Sabha may thus see many ‘seniors’ allowed to contest, if they are wanting to throw their hat in the ring again. However, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumita Mahajan, 75, may chose not to contest again after getting elected from Indore for the record eighth time. According to sources, her decision may be linked to health issue including a lingering knee problem. The two other prominent women BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj (66) and Uma Bharti (59) have already announced that they would be opting out of the Lok Sabha polls. With the BJP finding itself short of experienced hands while engaging a rather aggressive Opposition in 2019, the party is mulling the possibility of drafting its State satraps like Shivraj Singh Chouhan (59) , Raman Singh (66) and Vasundhara Raje (66) for the LS electoral fray. Advani (91), Joshi (84) were earlier sidelined by the BJP leadership leading provoking senior party leader Yashwant Sinha to claim in 2015 that present BJP leadership had declared leaders above 75 as “brain dead.”   Induction of BJP patriarchs in ‘Margdarshak Mandal’ in 2014, had then also invited a sharp dig from the Congress  with the comment that  “they have been put in an old age home”. There has not been a single meeting of ‘Margdarshak Mandal’ even as it includes Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajanth Singh as its members. BJP had also dropped two Ministers   Babulal Gaur and Sartaj Singh in Madhya Pradesh Cabinet from the State Cabinet, last year, after they attained the age of 75. Read more posts… Saturday, 29 December 2018 | Deepak K Upreti | New Delhi

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