Won’t contest LS polls, party free to make choice: Sumitra Mahajan

“I declare that I will not contest Lok Sabha elections, so party is free to decide, without any hesitation,” she wrote.

New Delhi/Bhopal: Joining the list of BJP veterans who have been denied a ticket to contest the coming parliamentary elections for crossing the unofficial age bar of 75 years, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumita Mahajan on Friday “dramatically” announced that she will not contest the Lok Sabha poll from Indore, a
seat that she has represented for eight times in a row.

Apparently miffed over the party leadership’s delay in announcing the candidate for Indore parliamentary seat, which she was hopeful to contest again, Ms Mahajan, 75, wrote to BJP president Amit Shah and later told reporters in Indore that she has freed the party to make its choice.

“I declare that I will not contest Lok Sabha elections, so party is free to decide, without any hesitation,” she wrote.

The “sudden” development has ended the month-long suspense over her re-nomination from the seat, paving the way for nomination of a fresh candidate.
Ms Mahajan who turns 76 next Friday, just above the BJP’s age bar of 75 for candidates, has now joined the club of party seniors who are not contesting this election — L.K. Advani, 91, M.M. Joshi, 85, Karaj Mishra, 77, and B.C. Khanduri, 84.

Ms Mahajan, popularly known as ‘Tai’,’ wrote, “Till date, the BJP has not declared its candidate for the Indore seat. Why is this state of indecision? It is possible that the party is hesitating to take a decision. Even though, I held discussions with the leadership and left the decision to them, it seems they still have reservations. So, I announce not to contest the LS elections, so that the party can take a decision freely without any hesitation.”

There had been speculations whether the party would field someone who has crossed the 75-year age bar, so I decided to end them and free the party to make its choice,she said, adding that she would continue to work for the party and campaign for it.

Incidentally, Ms Mahajan had been campaigning in Indore constituency for the past two weeks despite speculations that she would be denied a ticket on the ground of her age.

Sources disclosed that Ms Mahajan had held a discussion with the party top brass a few months back over her re-nomination and had asked whether she should continue visiting her constituency or the party leadership wants to field a new candidate from there.

Ms Mahajan, sources said, was told that she should continue. Also, her suggestion that her eldest son could be considered to succeed her was not met with a positive response from the party leadership and now speculation is rife that Indore mayor and BJP MLA Malini Gaur could replace her.

Madhya Pradesh BJP president Rakesh Singh said a decision on party candidate for Indore seat would be taken only after consulting with Ms Mahajan.

Interestingly, Ms Mahajan’s letter to Mr Shah came a day after party veteran L.K. Advani wrote a blog after a gap of almost five years and also after the party denied a ticket to the nonagenarian.

On Friday, M.M. Joshi, another BJP veteran who has been denied a ticket this time, met Mr Advani at the latter’s residence.

Members of the BJP’s ‘Margdarshak Mandal’, both Mr Advani and Dr Joshi, had kind of revolted against the party leadership after its defeat in the Bihar Assembly polls of 2015. The duo, along with Himachal Pradesh Shanta Kumar and former Union minister Yashwant Sinha, had demand.

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