Senior JD (U) leader George Fernandes’ announcement to contest Lok Sabha election from Nalanda may have caused a flutter in the party think tank, but the general refrain among partymen is that he should call it quits in deference to his age and fragile health.
“The ticket is decided by the party central committee and not by the individual. The party is yet to discuss the names,” said State JD (U) president Rajiv Ranjan Singh. The same view was expressed by party’s national spokesperson Shivanand Tiwary. “Its premature to comment on this,” he said.
That George’s announcement was not music to the ears for most of the party leaders was clear by the fact that most of them opined, that he should retire like BJP leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
“Look at his health. He could neither sit nor stand for long,” said a party office-bearer. “We respect him but it is high time he made way for new leaders,” said another party MLA.
Fernandes’ announcement before the media did not enthuse even his die-hard fans, though he had represented the constituency three times. “It’s a good decision. He is the oldest among the present leaders,” said Chattu Rai of Samastpur. Nalanda’s Anil Kumar felt otherwise. “He is an honest, good leader … But the time has come to give new leaders a chance,” he said.
Party national president Sharad Yadav, while talking to Hindustan Times, had said that proper, winnable candidates would be preferred. “Some new candidates will also be given an opportunity,” Yadav said.