Sukh Ram and Sat Mahajan will not contest Assembly elections

Shimla: In a country where old age is no deterrent for an active political life, two veteran Congress leaders in Himachal Pradesh have decided to retire to “make ways for the youth”.

Former Union Minister and present MLA from Mandi Sadar, Sukh Ram and Revenue Minister Sat Mahajan have decided to bid adieu to electoral politics, saying they will not enter the fray in the coming assembly polls or any future elections.

The septuagenarian Agriculture Minister Raj Kishan Gaur has also indicated his wish to pull out of the humdrum of active politics but is not permitted by the party.

“Personally I feel I shall end my innings in electoral politics and make room for the younger generation to take over from me...but I have to bow before the party’s directives which wants me to contest in the coming election,” he told PTI.

Sukh Ram, 80, who is credited with bringing a communication revolution in the country as Communication Minister during the time of late prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, said he has had “enough” as “I have spend 45 years successfully in electoral politics”.

Favouring voluntary retirement from active politics when one is advancing in years, Mr. Ram said, “some people do not understand this and they are ultimately pushed out by the voters. But I have decided to say goodbye to active politics on my own sweet will.”

Starting his electoral career in 1962, Ram has won Assembly Elections from his Mandi Sadar constituency 12 times and was Member of Parliament from Mandi once. “I am leaving the electoral field satisfied,” he said.

Sat Mahajan, who is Revenue Minister in the Cabinet of Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, has also decided to call it quits.

“I had made up my mind not to enter into the fray last time itself but I had to accede to the requests of the Chief Minister and others and enter into the fray. This time I have told them politely to permit me to opt out of elections forever,” 81-year-old Mahajan said.

Mr. Mahajan, who began his political career at the age of 25, has been a Member of Assembly from Nurpur in Kangra district six times and was once elected to the Lok Sabha.

Mr. Mahajan’s Cabinet colleague Raj Kishan Gaur also expressed his desire to retire.

“I have been telling them to excuse me from electoral politics for the past eight years but I have to obey the directives of party leaders and enter into the fray from Kullu seat,” he said.

“The party is insisting that I contest the Assembly a disciplined member of the party I have to go by the party decision,” he said.

But like many other politicians, all three ageing leaders are actively grooming their sons to take their place.

Mr. Ram said he will be canvassing for his son Anil Sharma, who will be the party’s candidate from Mandi Sadar.

Mr. Mahajan has also proposed the name of his son Ajay Mahajan as his successor. Mr. Gaur’s son Bhubneshwar Gaur is also active in politics and may soon be ready to take over his father’s mantle. -- PTI