Advani stays mum after being denied ticket, while Uma Bharti has this to say

Anuj Cariappa

New Delhi, Mar 25: BJP leader and Union minister Uma Bharati Sunday said it is for LK Advani to clear the "mist", after the veteran leader was not named as a party candidate for the Lok Sabha elections, and asserted that his stature was not affected by contesting or not contesting any poll.

Heaping praises on the 91-year-old leader, Bharati said it was Advani who played the central role in bringing the party to such a position that Narendra Modi is prime minister today and added that he never craved for any position in his long political career.

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"The only person who should comment right now to clear the air, all these things- the mist around- is Advani ji," she told PTI, adding that it would not be proper for others, including her, to comment on the matter.

She was responding to questions on the party's decision to not nominate him from Gandhinagar, a seat he had been winning since 1998. BJP president Amit Shah will contest from the seat in the coming general election.

There has been no official word from the party or the 91-year-old leader, who was its longest serving president, on his name not finding a place among the BJP's candidates for the poll.

A number of veteran leaders, including Shanta Kumar, BC Khanduri and Kariya Munda- all in their 80s- have not been fielded by the BJP in the polls, seen as part of its strategy under Modi and Shah to ease them out and groom younger leaders in their place.

Some of them had expressed their wish to not fight the coming polls.

Bharati said there cannot be a principle regarding not giving election tickets to leaders above a certain age and noted that many young MPs were also dropped by the party.

Fifty-nine-year-old Bharati herself is not contesting the Lok Sabha polls and said she had conveyed such a wish to the party leadership long back.

She said she plans to go on an 18-month-long journey on foot along the shores of the Ganga from May.

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Bharati was on Saturday appointed as a party vice president.

She also expressed confidence that Modi will return as prime minister with a thumping victory in the polls, asserting that there is no alternative to him.

"I have been praying to God that Modi become prime minister again. It will do the country and its poor a lot of good," she asserted.

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