Prominent BJP leaders not contesting Lok Sabha polls


New Delhi । Many prominent BJP leaders are not contesting Lok Sabha Elections this time including Sushma Swaraj, Uma Bharti, LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi.

For the last few decades, they were the BJP’s prominent faces and voices in the Lower House of Parliament but now their voices would not be heard in the 17th Lok Sabha.

L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Kalraj Mishra, Ramesh Bais, B.C. Khanduri, Rajen Gohain and Bijoya Chakraborty are among party veterans, whom the BJP is not fielding in the crucial Lok Sabha elections, while External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and firebrand leader Uma Bharti have opted out.

The development assumes significance as it aims at a generational shift in the ruling party which remained mostly in the opposition during its long journey.

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L K Advani is among the senior most leaders of BJP. He is eleven time MP and a founding member. He is credited with a significant role in strengthening the party’s political base. The BJP grew in size phenomenally after Advani took out the rath yatra in 1990s, mustering support to build a Ram Temple at Ayodhya.

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In 2014 he won by the record margin from Gandhinagar Lok Sabha seat. This time party has fielded BJP President Amit Shah from Gandhinagar. Advani was elected to the Rajya Sabha for four terms and to the Lok Sabha on seven occasions.

Besides Advani, party veterans Shanta Kumar, Kalraj Mishra, and Bhagat Singh Koshyari will not be contesting the Lok Sabha polls. Murli Manohar Joshi, who represents Kanpur Lok Sabha constituency, is also likely to be left out.

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Murli Manohar Joshi, who won in 2014 from Kanpur, was the BJP President between 1991 and 1993 and has also represented Allahabad and Varanasi in Parliament. In 2014, he was shifted to Kanpur after the party decided to field Narendra Modi in Varanasi.

Shanta Kumar, who is credited with building the party in Himachal Pradesh, has been representing Kangra constituency in the hill state. The former Chief Minister was first elected from there in 1989 and re-elected in 1998, 1999 and 2014, the last with a record margin of 1.7 lakh votes.

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Kalraj Mishra, the BJP’s prominent Brahmin face in Uttar Pradesh, represented Deoria in the current Lok Sabha after previously being a Rajya Sabga member. He was inducted into the Modi cabinet as Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Minister but dropped later on age grounds.

Hukmdev Narayan Yadav, who represents Madhubani in Bihar, is the recipient of the Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest civilian award. Known for his fiery speeches in Parliament, he was elected to Lok Sabha first time in 1977. The BJP had fielded his son from the constituency.

Kariya Munda, octogenarian MP and the tallest BJP leader in Jharkhand, first entered the Lok Sabha in 1977 from Khunti and since 1989, he has been representing the seat continuously till 2014, barring only once in 2004 when he lost to Congress’s Sushila Kerkata. Munda, who lost his first election but rose to become a cabinet minister and Deputy Lok Sabha Speaker, has been replaced by former Chief Minister Arjun Munda.

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Ramesh Bais, considered the architect of BJP in Chhattisgarh, has also been denied ticket this election. Though continuously winning the Raipur parliamentary constituency since 1996, he has now been replaced by Sunil Soni. Bais was elected to the Municipal Corporation of Raipur in 1978. A member of Madhya Pradesh Assembly from 1980 to 1984, he was elected for the first time to the Lok Sabha from Raipur in 1989 and was re-elected consecutively from 1996 to 2014. He also served as a Minister in the Vajpayee government.

Bhagat Singh Koshyari, a former Chief Minister of Uttarakhand and Minister in the Vajpayee government, currently represents Nainital-Udhamsingh Nagar constituency. He also served as a Rajya Sabha MP.

Bijoya Chakraborty and Rajen Gohain had been BJP’s prominent faces from Assam.

Lok Sabha polls will be held in seven phases from April 11 to May 19 while the results will be declared on 23 May.