Old timers would love to see the likes of A B Vajpayee and Somnath Chatterjee right up at the pantheon of democracy, but while these leaders have retired with grace their peers are not exactly ready to let go.
While former prime minister Vajpayee and Lok Sabha speaker Chatterjee announced much before the polls that they are standing down, others missed the bus for an equally graceful exit. Congress veteran Arjun Singh was forcefully rested and once firebrand-socialist George Fernandes was shut out of his own party.
However, an old and ailing Fernandes has decided to go the last mile alone just like his contemporary Kalyan Singh, who is out of the BJP and on his own.
Fernadnes was not long ago the convener of the NDA, Kalyan the general of BJP's Ayodhya movement, Arjun Singh the decider of the fate of Congress candidates from Madhya Pradesh.
But this time he even failed to get a nomination for his daughter Veena and also his son Ajeya Singh. While Singh sees the situation as not a very happy one, Fernandes has been appealing to voters in Muzaffarpur to lend their shoulders when he breathes his last.
Another old BJP strongman, Keshubhai Patel, has literally retreated from public life after the rise of Narendra Modi. What binds these veterans, all of whom have crossed their seventies, is that they are the waning stars in the elections to the 15th Lok Sabha.