BJP delaying, won’t contest polls, says Speaker Sumitra Mahajan

By: and |
Published: April 6, 2019 12:41:39 AM

Other party veterans kept out of the Lok Sabha list this time include former Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani, former HRD Minister Murli Manohar Joshi, former Uttarakhand Chief Minister B C Khanduri and former Union minister Kalraj Mishra.

sumitra mahajan, bjp, news, lok sabha election, lok sabha election 2019, election 2019, india, newsBJP delaying, won’t contest polls, says Speaker Mahajan (File Photo/PTI)

Joining the ranks of BJP veterans unhappy with the present leadership, outgoing Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan on Friday announced that she would not contest the Lok Sabha elections saying her party can decide its candidate for Indore with a “free mind”. Mahajan, who will turn 76 in a week, made her decision public in an open letter in which she questioned the delay in announcing the BJP candidate for Indore, a prestigious Madhya Pradesh seat she has represented in Lok Sabha for eight consecutive terms.

“The BJP has not announced its candidate for Indore so far. Why is this state of indecision?… It seems there is still some uncertainty in their mind. That’s why I am announcing that now I don’t want to contest the Lok Sabha election. The party should make the decision with a free mind, unhesitatingly,’’ she said in an open letter.
Though Indore votes on May 19, the last phase of polling, Mahajan’s candidature was a subject of intense speculation since she will soon breach the BJP’s unofficial cut-off age of 75 years for contesting elections.

Other party veterans kept out of the Lok Sabha list this time include former Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani, former HRD Minister Murli Manohar Joshi, former Uttarakhand Chief Minister B C Khanduri and former Union minister Kalraj Mishra.

Mahajan, sources said, was irked that though she was willing to contest again, the party was not ready to overlook her age. Until a few days ago, she maintained that she would decide if and when the baton is to be passed to a successor. Even after the party dropped broad hints that her claim could be ignored she dug her heels in.
Indore is considered one of the safe seats for the BJP in Madhya Pradesh and the party usually announces its candidate early unlike this time when a question mark hanged over Mahajan’s candidature. The BJP has named candidates for 18 of the 29 seats in MP so far.

“I thought the party was hesitant so I told them to take a decision,’’ she told The Indian Express and asked if the episode had left her bitter said: “No, not at all. There is no question of getting hurt.”

Read Also| Lok Sabha elections: Biopic ‘PM Narendra Modi’ star Vivek Oberoi to campaign for BJP in Gujarat

“I am not a political person. I had made my stand clear to the party,’’ she said when asked if she was ready to contest but was denied the ticket. She also said she knew there was an age criterion but since it seemed the party was hesitant to deny her the ticket, she chose to go public to clear the air.

The Speaker also ruled out retirement. “How can it be? I am a disciple of Atal Bihari Vajpayee who used to say ‘you can’t strip a party worker’s position from anyone’,’’ she said. She ended her open letter by requesting the party to take an early call on Indore to end the uncertainty and allow everyone to work in the days to come.

While BJP leaders did not comment on Mahajan’s letter, the Congress used it to target the BJP. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath’s media coordinator Narendra Saluja claimed she had started campaigning in Indore but was forced to withdraw from the race after all her attempts to get the ticked failed and when she realised the Prime Minister and BJP chief Amit Shah won’t budge.

Get live Stock Prices from BSE and NSE and latest NAV, portfolio of Mutual Funds, calculate your tax by Income Tax Calculator, know market’s Top Gainers, Top Losers & Best Equity Funds. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Financial Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with the latest Biz news and updates.

Next Stories
1SEBI steps in to de-stress the stressed, but are the measures taken by the regulator good enough?