Veteran BJP leader Babulal Gaur today said his removal from the Madhya Pradesh cabinet because of his old age was “totally wrong”, after party president Amit Shah clarified that the party had not set any such upper age limit. The BJP state unit had in June asked Gaur and Sartaj Singh to resign from the Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led government. Addressing a press conference here two days ago, Shah said there was “no rule or tradition in the BJP to forbid leaders from contesting polls or holding a cabinet post after they attain the age of 75”. “Now as Shah has clarified that there was no age limit, Chouhan’s decision to drop me from his cabinet last year proves to be totally wrong,” 88-year-old Gaur told PTI.
“It was all the chief minister’s management,” he alleged, saying that had Chouhan himself asked him to step down, he would have done so gladly. “When L K Advani had asked me to resign as the MP chief minister to elect a new leader, I had tendered my resignation without any delay,” he said.
Asked if he wanted to be re-inducted, Gaur said he was grateful to the party for giving him “so much in the past”. “I won’t beg for a berth in the cabinet now,” he added.
The veteran leader said he would not press Chouhan for taking him back in the ministry, but added, “Tumhin ne dard diya hai, tumhin dawa dana (you gave me the pain, now you give me the cure)”.
Sartaj Singh (76) said Shah had cleared the misunderstanding over the age rule. “It is now up to the chief minister to take a call in the state,” he said. Asked whether he would seek a cabinet berth again, Singh said he would not.
Gaur and Singh were asked to resign by the party on the ground that both were above 75 years of age. They were told that the central leadership had fixed the age bar, Gaur claimed. When pointed out during the August 19 press conference that Gaur and Singh were dropped on the ground of their old age, Shah said it was the chief minister’s prerogative.