BJP's age criteria: Madhya Pradesh was the first state to remove ministers on the grounds of age. Latest News India

Former state Public Health Engineering (PHE) minister Kasim Mehdele, now 80, recalls how she was denied a ticket in the 2018 assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh on the grounds that she had crossed the age limit despite contesting as per the party formula. In fact, as she says, she was quite active in politics.

Senior BJP leaders LK Advani was 86 and Murali Manohar Joshi, 80, when they contested their last Lok Sabha elections in 2014. (PTI photo)

Mehdele was the sitting MLA from Panna assembly constituency in Bundelkhand region and a minister in the then Shivraj Singh Chauhan cabinet when she was dropped as a party candidate and replaced by Brijender Pratap Singh, a junior from Mehdele. was

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He was also not considered for the party ticket for the 2023 assembly elections which the BJP won with a large mandate.

When contacted by Hindustan Times in the backdrop of Union Home Minister Amit Shah's statement on Saturday reacting to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's comment on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's tenure. , Mahadele said that it was the party's decision (to deny him the ticket) and he had to follow it.

“What can I say? I was very active when I was not given a party ticket. Those who were to be removed were removed. (which were to be removed). However, I was not alone. “Many other people were let go like me on the basis of age,” said Mahdele.

Shortly after his release from jail late last week, Kejriwal said that since the BJP had introduced a rule for its leaders not to hold office after the age of 75, Modi would step down next year. And Shah will replace him if the party retains power. .

On this, Shah said that there is no such provision in the BJP constitution and Modi will complete his term after the 2024 elections.

First cases

Mehdele turned 75 on August 15, 2018, a few months before the state assembly elections. However, he was allowed to stay on as a minister for a few months until the elections, unlike the then state home minister Babulal Gaur and PWD minister Sartaj Singh, who were removed from the cabinet due to age.

Then on 30 June 2016, before CM Chouhan's decision to expand the state cabinet, Gaur and Sartaj Singh resigned from the state cabinet but without registering their protest and causing turmoil in the party.

In fact, Gaur caused a stir in the party and the government by refusing to accept the party's decision to resign from the state cabinet, asking party leaders to tell them what was wrong.

Some effort was made by senior party leaders in both Bhopal and Delhi to convince the two ministers to comply with the instructions of the party leadership to resign from the state cabinet. The then National General Secretary (Organization) Ram Lal had to step in. The then state BJP president Nand Kumar Singh Chouhan also met the two leaders to convince them of the party's decision, recalled a senior party leader, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Because he was not authorized to talk to the media.

Gaur and Singh, party veterans, later boycotted the swearing-in ceremony of the newly inducted ministers at the Raj Bhavan. Both leaders are no more.

“I could not believe that age could be a factor to remove me from the state cabinet. This is not done in any political party,” Sartaj Singh had told the media after resigning on 30 June 2016.

Also read: Is 75-year retirement rule only for other BJP leaders and not for Modi?: Kejriwal to PM

Similar matters at the central level

The Center also followed the Madhya Pradesh incident when the then Minority Affairs Minister Najma Hapatullah resigned from the cabinet in July 2016, a day before she turned 76. Hapatullah cited personal reasons behind his decision to file his papers. The then Union Minister Kulraj Mishra, who turned 76 on July 1, 2017, resigned from the cabinet in September that year.

According to another BJP leader, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity, Mishra, a prominent Brahmin leader in Uttar Pradesh, turned 75 in 2017 due to state assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh. Survived for a year.

Mishra, who had crossed 75, which is known as the unofficial cut-off age for retirement, said after his resignation that his decision to step down was not motivated by performance and that he took the decision. was left to the leadership.

Mishra is currently the Governor of Rajasthan. Hapatullah was the Governor of Manipur from July 2019 to August 2021.

Coming back to Madhya Pradesh, both Mehdele, Gwar and Sartaj Singh were denied tickets in the 2018 state assembly elections. The BJP leadership tried to mold a militant Gaur before the elections by fielding his daughter-in-law Krishna Gaur in his place in the polls. He is the Minister of State in the current Mohan Yadav Cabinet.

Advani, Joshi and Sumitra Mahajan

National BJP leaders including former Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani, former Union HRD Minister Murali Manohar Joshi and former Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan were denied party tickets for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Advani was 86, Joshi, 80, and Mahajan, 71, when they contested their last Lok Sabha elections in 2014.

Political analyst Girija Shankar said: “It is a fact that the age limit is not part of the BJP's constitution but it is also a fact that because of the party's 75-plus membership, many party leaders either from the central Excluded from cabinet or denied party ticket Unofficial formula However, the party leadership did not realize at the time that this formula would one day return to it.

Shankar added: “Arvind Kejriwal is a smart politician. BJP leaders used to ask who is the PM face of India block but now Kejriwal has asked who is the PM face of BJP. This makes B There has been further upheaval in the JP camp as it has claimed that Amit Shah will succeed Modi after he turns 75.

Political analyst Dinesh Gupta said, “Union Home Minister Amit Shah or, for that matter, the BJP cannot take refuge in the party constitution that there is no 75-plus rule, especially when several senior party leaders including LK Advani, Murali are in. Manohar Joshi, Sumitra Mahajan, Najma Hapatullah, Sartaj Singh etc. are shown the door based on unofficial formula They will apply their formula to themselves.

State BJP secretary Rajneesh Agarwal said there was nothing more to comment on the matter after Shah's statement. The Home Minister's statement left us with nothing to say on the matter.

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