India TV reporters have filed stories on the decision of senior BJP leaders Lal Krishna Advani (age 91 years) and Dr Murli Manohar Joshi (age 85 years) offering not to contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. I think, this is a step in the right direction. Both these stalwarts are part of the Margdarshak Mandal of the party, and they have now offered to stay out of active politics.
During the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Advani, M M Joshi and former Himachal Pradesh CM Shanta Kumar (age 84 years) were requested not to contest. They were offered Rajya Sabha seats, but all the three leaders had then opted to contest. This time, both Advani and M M Joshi have offered not to contest and the party leadership has reportedly accepted their request.
It is a historical fact that stalwarts like Advani, Joshi and Shanta Kumar had toiled hard for most of their life in building the edifice of Bharatiya Jana Sangh (later BJP). They worked among the masses and spread the message of the party at a time when it was on the sidelines of mainstream Indian politics.
It was under Advani's leadership that the BJP organisation spread far and wide across the length and breadth of the country. It was during his tenure as party chief that leaders like Narendra Modi, Arun Jaitley, Venkaiah Naidu and Sushma Swaraj rose on the political horizon.
And now times have changed. The party wants to field new faces and wants to give its old stalwarts a rest from the hustle and bustle of electoral politics. India has a burgeoning base of young and energetic voters and the new generation needs a fresh line of politicians. Any vibrant and dynamic party, in order to sustain itself, needs fresh infusion of young politicians and the time has now come to bid farewell to the older generation.
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