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Wednesday, Nov 13, 2019

BJP to discuss age limit of candidates at key meeting

The election for the Lok Sabha will be held between April and May and the election commission is expected to announce the schedule of the poll on March 8 or 9.

india Updated: Mar 06, 2019 07:46 IST
Kumar Uttam
Kumar Uttam
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
BJP chief Amit Shah.
BJP chief Amit Shah.(PTI file photo)
         

The parliamentary board of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), its top decision-making body, will meet shortly after the dates for the general election are announced to take an in-principle decision on whether the party should field candidates who are above the age of 75, Rajya Sabha members and sitting legislators in the Lok Sabha polls. Seventy-five is the age limit the partly has set for ministerial positions.

The election for the Lok Sabha will be held between April and May and the election commission is expected to announce the schedule of the poll on March 8 or 9.

“Before we distribute tickets, top leaders of the party are to meet and take a call on giving tickets to these three categories of candidates,” a top leader of the party said on condition of anonymity.

“Our consultation for identifying potential candidates is on. We might start announcing names of our candidates from next week.”

After Narendra Modi stormed to power in 2014, the BJP had adopted an upper age limit for 75 for ministerial posts. Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel and Union ministers Najma Heptualla and Kalraj Mishra resigned once they crossed the age of 75.

The BJP leadership had hinted last month that the 75-plus age bar was to hold ministerial positions, and would not apply to those contesting polls.

If the party decides not to repeat leaders past the age of 75, it would rule out of the electoral contest veterans such as LK Advani (91), Murli Manohar Joshi (85), Sumitra Mahajan, who will turn 76 in April, Bhagat Singh Koshyari (76), BC Khanduri (84), Kalraj Mishra (77), Shanta Kumar (84), Kariya Munda (82) and Hukmdev Narayan Yadav (79), among others.

Some of them are already out of the race because of health reasons, a second BJP leader said.

The parliamentary board will also take a call on whether or not to field Rajya Sabha members in the direct election, or to make an exception for some candidates.

Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad is considered a potential candidate for the Patna Sahib Lok Sabha constituency, currently held by actor-politican Shatrughan Sinha. Prasad is a four-term Rajya Sabha member and considered one of the key faces of the Modi government.

Textiles minister Smriti Irani unsuccessfully contested the 2014 election against Rahul Gandhi in Amethi, and she is seen as a potential candidate against the Congress president in the coming election.

Union ministers JP Nadda, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Vijay Goel and a few others are seen as possible Lok Sabha candidates.

Among sitting state legislators there are over half a dozen in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar each, besides some in Haryana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand who want a ticket to contest the Lok Sabha elections.

“These decisions will be taken up after a proper consultation and taking into account various other factors,” the first leader quoted above said.