Two ministers of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Punjab cabinet – Bhagat Chunni Lal (83) and Madan Mohan Mittal (77) — will not contest the forthcoming assembly polls due in February next year, it is learnt. Sources said both the leaders were projecting their sons as the party had set 75 years as the maximum age for fighting elections.
Industries minister Mittal comparatively is still agile, but Bhagat, who holds forests and wildlife portfolio, appears physically weak and his mental faculties have also slowed down. Though he remained BJP’s legislature party leader, he played a negligible role.
“This principle laid down by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is for every state. I am sure all will abide by it,” said state BJP president Vijay Sampla.
“I am ready to move on,” said Mittal, a MLA from Anandpur Sahib, who has decided to hand over the baton to his elder son Arvind Mittal (48), a lawyer. “My son has risen through the ranks in the party, he has worked in the party’s student wing and had also attended shakhas of Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) for many years. My party has also made him in-charge of Anandpur Sahib halqa,” the minister said.
These days, Mittal is camping in Nangal, garnering support for his son and Arvind has opened an office in Anandpur Sahib.
Jalandhar-west MLA Bhagat Chunni Lal’s son Mahinder Bhagat (59), who has been functioning as the de facto minister for five years, is active in the constituency. “I am working hard in the constituency by meeting people door to door and am poll-ready,” Mahinder said.
However, the decision on their political aspirations will be decided by the party high command.