More than a year after two ministers in the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government were removed because they had crossed 75 years, BJP chief Amit Shah on Saturday asserted that there was no such formula, rule or tradition that those above 75 cannot contest elections. “Madhya Pradesh me kisko rakhna hai, kisko nahi rakhna hai, ye CM ka adhikar hai,” Shah said in response to a question on whether those above 75 would be denied tickets in the next Assembly elections or kept away from important positions.
Veterans Babulal Gaur and Sartaj Singh, who held home and forest portfolios, respectively, were dropped as ministers last year and apparently told that the BJP had decided to follow this formula at the national level. Chouhan had earlier suggested that the decision to remove the two ministers was taken at the state level.
Reacting to reports that the BJP was eying 350 seats in the next general elections, Shah claimed there was no such target. “We have decided to strengthen our organisation at every seat in the country,” he said. Later, he said the party would not fix a low target like 350 and could even exceed it.
“Even today we are in majority and yet we are in the NDA,’’ he said when asked whether the alliance would remain intact in future. When asked about Election Commissioner O P Rawat’s comment about parties placing premium on winning elections at all costs, the BJP chief said he probably had the Congress’s herding of Gujarat MLAs at a Bengaluru resort in mind.