>Under criticism from elders for his handling of the party affairs during the Bihar Assembly polls, BJP president Amit Shah extrapolated from the life of late RSS ideologue Nanaji Deshmukh to propose that people aged over 60 retire from politics and take to social service. He was speaking at a function at Chitrakoot, where Deshmukh launched welfare activities.
Embattled by criticism by party elders over his handling of the party before and during the Bihar polls, BJP President Amit Shah extrapolated from the life of late RSS ideologue Nanaji Deshmukh to take pot shots at the veterans.
Speaking at a function at Chitrakoot in Uttar Pradesh, where Deshmukh founded some social service initiatives, Mr. Shah referred to Deshmukh’s view that people over 60 years should retire from politics, and take to social service as he (Deshmukh) did.
“Nanaji presented an example to all politicians, that one should not remain in active politics after the age of 60. After that age, one should work towards the uplift of rural society and villages. Nanaji was here and he had indeed led by example,” he said.
Mr. Shah has been put on the mat by elders within the BJP after the party was trounced in the Assembly polls in Bihar. Party veterans L.K. Advani, Yashwant Sinha, Murli Mamohar Joshi and Shanta Kumar held Mr. Shah responsible for the Bihar debacle.
They accused the party high command of having “emasculated” the party organisation, forcing all to “kow-tow” to the party leadership -- that is – Mr. Shah.
The statement set off ripples in the party and has split the party on how to deal with this issue.
Mr. Shah had relegated two of these seniors -- Mr. Advani and Mr. Joshi -- to a defunct committee called the Margdarshak Mandal that hasn’t met since it was constituted. Some leaders within the party now such as Home Minister Rajnath Singh want that the criticism levelled by the elders to be taken on board, while others, like Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu have taken the line that the elders should have articulated the criticism at a suitable forum.
Mr. Shah, for his part, seems to have reminded the elders that while they may have some homilies for him, he is still of the opinion that that they are past the age to run things in the party.
Amit Shah clarifies
After remarks by him, that people over 60 should not be active in politics surfaced, BJP president Amit Shah sent out a clarification that he meant the remark only in the context of late RSS ideologue Nanaji Deshmukh's life and not as a general prescription for current members of the party.