Having excluded veteran leaders from the Union Cabinet, Prime Minister Modi and his aide Amit Shah are rumoured to be mulling about setting age limits for the party’s highest decision making body – the Parliamentary Board.
Sources in the BJP talk of a buzz in its inner circles about introducing a cut-off age of 75 for the 11 members of the Parliamentary Board, which would be controversial since it would end up excluding senior members Atal Bihari Vajpayee, L K Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi.
BJP president Amit Shah, who recently unveiled his team of office bearers, is holding consultations with the stakeholders on appointing members of the board, which he would head.
Headed by former party president Rajnath Singh, the board currently has Vajpayee, Advani, Modi, Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj, Nitin Gadkari, Venkaiah Naidu, Thawar Chandra Gehlot, Murli Manohar Joshi and Ananth Kumar as its members.
Unconfirmed talks within the party also suggest that Ananth Kumar could be dropped from the board since Shah has to insert himself even if he chooses to retain the current set of members.
Article 25 of the BJP’s constitution states that the board will be headed by the party chief and have the leader of the party in Parliament as one of its members. It also says that one of the general secretaries shall be nominated as secretary of the board.
A BJP leader said since Vajpayee and Advani are the party’s founding members, it would not be easy for Modi and Shah to drop them from the positions as they did in the government.
Capturing power with a massive mandate, Modi managed to keep Advani and Joshi out of the cabinet without much protest. He had the backing of the party’s ideological mentor RSS, which spoke in public about handing over the reins to the next generation of leaders.
Shah has scrupulously followed Modi’s model of government formation in picking his team of vice presidents and general secretaries, with 50 being the average age of his team.
Sources said veterans will be made part of a panel that would be consulted on important matters. Excluded from the Cabinet, Joshi has become the chairperson of the parliamentary estimates panel, while Advani is a panelist on public undertakings chaired by Santa Kumar.