Success prompts BJP to go for young turks

Written by Mukesh Ranjan | New Delhi, Feb 21 | Updated: Feb 22 2008, 04:10am hrs
NDA prime ministerial candidate LK Advani may have crossed 80 years, but he might head a much younger alliance in the Lok Sabha, should it come to power in the next Lok Sabha elections.

The BJP, which has already initiated the exercise of finalising its list of candidates for the next general elections, has decided to give preference to younger candidates, preferably those who are below 55 years in age. An analytical study of the candidates profile in the last six parliamentary elections, which points to a success rate of 76% for younger nominees, has led the party to take this view.

The party has constituted a committee of 15 senior leaders to go into recommendations made by the state units and finalise the names of candidates by October this year. The first meeting of the selection panel is expected to take place on February, 25 at Advanis residence and party president Rajnath Singh will chair the meeting.

Those who have been selected to form the committee include Murli Manohar Joshi, M Venkaiah Naidu, Jaswant Singh, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Yashwant Sinha, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Gopinath Munde, Bal Apte, Ram Lal and Ananth Kumar.

Interestingly, the committee will not have representation from the states, as neither the chief ministers nor the state unit chiefs found place. However, the national committee will finalise the partys list of candidates in consultation with state leaders. The first meeting of the committee will assign the members the responsibility of finalising list of 35 to 40 candidates by allocating them states, sources in the party said.

Claiming that the party has already got into the election mode by completing two initial rounds (deciding on prime ministerial candidate and forming an election management and campaign committee sources said, this was one further step to put things in order and give partys candidates ample time to work in their respective re-worked constituencies.