Bharatiya Janata Party leaders Narendra Modi and Amit Shah visited party veterans LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi on Friday, a day after the party’s landslide victory in the Lok Sabha elections. Both Advani and Joshi were reportedly unhappy after they were denied tickets this time.
Modi credited Advani and his likes for the resounding victory of the party. “Called on respected Advani Ji,” he tweeted after meeting the party stalwart. “The BJP’s successes today are possible because greats like him spent decades building the party and providing a fresh ideological narrative to the people.”
Modi said he sought blessings from a scholar like Joshi. “Dr Murli Manohar Joshi is a scholar and intellectual par excellence,” he said. “His contribution towards improving Indian education is remarkable. He has always worked to strengthen the BJP and mentor several Karyakartas, including me. Met him this morning and sought his blessings.”
Amit Shah made his Lok Sabha election debut from Gandhinagar, a seat held by Advani since 1991, barring a two-year period. He won the seat by a margin of 5.5 lakh votes by defeating Congress’ CJ Chavda. Advani had put out a statement conveying his “heartiest congratulations” to Modi on his “unprecedented victory” on Thursday.
The BJP had decided not to field candidates above the age of 75 this year. Hence, 91-year-old Advani was eased out of his Gandhinagar seat. Eighty-five-year-old Joshi was also dropped after the party announced that Uttar Pradesh minister Satyadev Pachauri will be fielded from his Kanpur constituency. Joshi had won the seat in 2014 by a huge margin.
Several other veteran BJP leaders including Shanta Kumar, BC Khanduri and Kariya Munda were not fielded this time, while Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan dropped out of the race after the party did not announce a candidate for her seat for many weeks.