- LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi upset over being left out of poll battle
- The meeting is aimed at bringing the veterans back on board
- Opposition has attacked PM Modi, Amit Shah for benching their "gurus"
BJP president Amit Shah met upset party veterans LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi in Delhi today, hours after the party's big manifesto launch for the national election starting Thursday. Both LK Advani and MM Joshi have been extremely unhappy about the way they were elbowed out of the election battle this year.
The meeting was aimed at bringing the veterans back on board at a time the opposition has attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit shah for benching "their gurus".
There were reports that Amit Shah would meet them before the manifesto launch and give them a copy each but that didn't happen.
BJP leaders assert that Amit Shah met the seniors to share the party's manifesto and get their inputs. But sources say the party president "visited them to personally explain the decision of not fielding candidates above 75, taken at a parliamentary board meeting," in an attempt at damage control.
LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi are founder members of the BJP. Till the previous election in 2014, they both had dodged the 75-plus age ban on candidates.
Last month, Mr Advani, 91, was told that Amit Shah would contest from Gandhinagar in Gujarat, a seat the BJP patriarch has held for six terms. Mr Joshi sent out a public message to his constituency Kanpur last month that he had been told by the party he would not contest from Kanpur or anywhere in the election.
Both had a similar complaint, that the party went about it in a shabby manner; they believed that they deserved to be informed about such a huge decision by the party president. Instead, general secretary Ram Lal delivered the message to them.
Mr Advani didn't go public for weeks but delivered his message in a blog last week. In the post reminding the BJP of democratic principles, he wrote that the party never considered its critics as "anti-nationals". The opposition seized the comments as a direct jab at PM Modi and Amit Shah, who have been accusing rivals during their campaign of "speaking Pakistan's language".
The BJP has also been rattled by reports that opposition parties had reached out to both the veterans and were trying to convince Mr Joshi to contest against PM Modi in Varanasi - Mr Joshi had given up the seat for Mr Modi at the party's instance and shifted to Kanpur in 2014.
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