- She is the latest BJP veteran to declare she won't contest the election
- Eight-time Indore lawmaker turns 76 soon, BJP's bar for candidates is 75
- LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi are among others benched by BJP
Sumitra Mahajan, the outgoing Lok Sabha Speaker, is the latest BJP veteran to declare that she will not contest the national election starting next week. Making her resentment clear in a letter released by her office, the senior parliamentarian from Madhya Pradesh said she had "freed her party" from a difficult choice.
While announcing candidates for Madhya Pradesh, the BJP had held off on naming anyone for Indore, which had left its long-time representative Sumitra Mahajan in suspense for weeks.
"BJP has not declared its candidate from Indore. Why this state of indecision? Maybe the party is hesitating. Even though I had a discussion with the leadership and left the decision to them. It seems they still have reservations, so I declare that I will not contest Lok Sabha elections, so party is free to decide, without any hesitation," Sumitra Mahajan wrote in her letter.
As she waited for the party to decide, she told reporters she would not ask; she never had in three decades. "I did not seek ticket from the Indore seat in 1989 when I first contested the Lok Sabha elections. The party on its own made me its candidate. I have never demanded my nomination," Sumitra Mahajan had said earlier this week.
"Possibly, BJP organisation leaders have something on their mind. Such questions are not asked in our party because the nominations are decided by the organisation. The BJP organisation will take an appropriate decision on Indore at an appropriate time."
She joins the club of BJP seniors who are not contesting this election - LK Advani, 91, and Murli Manohar Joshi, 85, Karaj Mishra, 77, and BC Khanduri, 84.
BJP president Amit Shah will contest from Mr Advani's seat Gandhinagar in Gujarat. Mr Joshi and the others were told by party general secretary Ram Lal that they would not contest.
Last month, Mr Joshi had put out a note to voters of his Kanpur constituency that he had been told by the BJP he should not contest the election from Kanpur or anywhere.
The names of Indore Mayor and legislator Malini Gaud, another legislator Usha Thakur, BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, former lawmaker Bhanwar Singh Shekawat and Indore Development Authority's former chairman Shanker Lalwani are doing the rounds as possible candidates from the constituency.
Indore will vote in the last round of voting on May 19 for the seven-phase national election. The results will be declared on May 23.