OPINION: Benching 75-year plus leaders like LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, a healthy decision by BJP

After the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) patriarch LK Advani was denied the ticket by the saffron party for the Lok Sabha elections 2019, came the turn of another veteran leader Murli Manohar Joshi.

Like Advani, Joshi too was benched apparently on the ground of his age and grooming younger leaders in his place. The party conveyed to Joshi that it will not field him in the elections. The decision by the BJP invoked strong emotions among some supporters of the two leaders.

Actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha termed it “painful” and “shameful”.

“Sirji… it is worrisome, painful and according to some even shameful… that which your people have done was the most expected and awaited… orchestrating the departure of a most respected friend, philosopher, guide, father figure and ultimate leader of the party, Shri L K Advani from the political arena/election,” Sinha tweeted.

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Let’s talk about LK Advani first:

LK Advani (91) served as Union home minister, deputy prime minister and was also the national president of the saffron party more than once. He is often seen as the one who helped the BJP create a footprint at the national level (within a decade of its formation) through active participation in the Ayodhya movement. He was considered a hardliner.

However, in 2005, his decline began after he fell out of favour with the BJP’s parent body, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) following his appreciation of “secular” personality of Pakistan founder Mohd Ali Jinnah.

“There are many people who leave an inerasable stamp on history,” he wrote in the register. “But there are very few who actually create history. Quaid-e-Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah was one such rare individual.

“In his early years, Sarojini Naidu, a leading luminary of India’s freedom struggle, described Mr Jinnah as an ‘ambassador of Hindu- Muslim unity’. His address to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on August 11, 1947, is really a classic, a forceful espousal of a secular state in which, while every citizen would be free to practise his own religion, the state shall make no distinction between one citizen and another on grounds of faith. My respectful homage to this great man,” the Telegraph India quoted him as saying.

According to media reports, Advani’s image within the party diminished further after he fell out with Narendra Modi. Interestingly, he had mentored PM Modi. Reportedly, the BJP patriarch had also backed Modi when the then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee wanted him gone as Gujarat chief minister in the aftermath of 2002 Godhra riots.

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Now let’s come to Murli Manohar Joshi:

Joshi (85), who also reportedly played a essential role in the Babri masjid demolition and the ensuing countrywide riots, based on the speeches made by him, was shown the door too.

BJP veteran announced he has been asked by the party to not contest election from Kanpur and elsewhere thus 2019.

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A good step:

Although many have criticised the BJP for its latest tough move, but I personally find it a respectable step. In fact, those who are 75-year plus must themselves sit down in order to make way for the younger generation. A person who is 75 or 80-year plus has already achieved everything in his life…so why not make the way for the younger lot? If they will not make the space, then how the youths will get their chance?

About the author: Author is Deputy Editor in India TV and tweets at @AnuragSason

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Disclaimer: The views expressed by the author are personal and do not reflect the opinions, beliefs and views of India TV.

Click here to watch variety of videos (ranging from political interviews to video travelogues) on Anurag K Sason’s You Tube channel (Anurag Sason) which has more than 2.7 million views.

Feature image: Narendra Modi with Murli Manohar Joshi. Courtesy-Twitter/ @drmmjoshibjp

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