‘Metroman’ Sreedharan, a former Railways official identified for constructing many advanced bridges and rather more famously, the Delhi metro system, has now joined the BJP. He’s 88, however that has not deterred him from beginning a brand new innings in his life. His step is a brave one and due to this fact commendable, particularly in view of the truth that the BJP has just one MLA in Kerala and due to this fact nonetheless far-off from capturing energy in that state. However within the Ashwamedha Yajna that Prime Minister Modi has launched, it is very important seize energy in Kerala, one of many final bastions within the nation to carry out in opposition to his all-conquering hordes. So, Kerala needs to be conquered and Sreedharan might be the overall who might do it for him. He has already mentioned that he’s not involved in a gubernatorial place however wouldn’t thoughts being taking on as Chief Minister of Kerala, ought to the BJP win the subsequent election. To date, so good, as a result of in spite of everything, why ought to age stand in the best way of his ambition?
However there’s a catch. In 2014, earlier than Modi turned Prime Minister, a hearsay was intentionally unfold that BJP member above the age of 75 wouldn’t be thought-about eligible for a ministerial berth within the new authorities which was positive to be fashioned after the elections. Nevertheless, there was no age restrict for contesting the Lok Sabha elections, so the likes of LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi have been allowed to run with the clear understanding that no ministerial posts would come their method. They gained their constituencies and spent a lacklustre 5 years in parliament till they have been lastly retired in 2019 by the powers-that-be. They have been made members of the well-known Margdarshak Mandal, which, in fact, by no means met. That’s how their illustrious profession in politics have been ended by their most well-known Chela (disciple). The Akbar/Bairam Khan story was repeated as soon as once more. However in contrast to Bairam Khan, they weren’t banished from Delhi – they’ve been allowed to remain there in authorities lodging with full services and the fullest safety. I’ve not heard of them or met them currently. Hope they’re doing properly.
Allow us to return to Sreedharan, nonetheless. He’s little doubt an excellent skilled, although he’s beginning his political profession somewhat late within the day. He is probably not conscious, although he must be, that the rule of 75 operates within the BJP. However exceptions make the rule, because the saying goes. In any case, the rule was not utilized when Yediyurappa was made Chief Minister of Karnataka. He’s properly over 75 however his appointment was unavoidable. No person else might fill the publish. Some folks additionally provide the weak and considerably specious argument that the rule applies solely on the centre and to not the provinces.
Some years in the past, when Modi was not but the grasp of the social gathering, the BJP determined that just like the Left events, it might additionally restrict the time period of its members in Rajya Sabha to 2. The rule was used to disclaim a 3rd time period to the likes of Arun Shourie and Shatrughan Sinha. However when circumstances modified and the flip of the rule-makers themselves got here, the rule was modified once more and overlook three, even a fourth time period was given to those incumbents. The record included the late-lamented Arun Jaitley. A lot for the foundations and their observance. So, Sreedharan nonetheless has an opportunity, the age bar however. It must be famous that in distinction, the Left events have strictly noticed this rule. I do know of many distinguished Left leaders who made an excellent contribution to the Higher Home after which quietly bowed out when their two phrases got here to an finish. Sitaram Yechury is the newest in that lengthy line. I’ve nice admiration for the truth that the Left events haven’t solely made this rule, however additionally they adhere to it strictly, in contrast to the BJP the place the motto is “You present me the face and I shall present you the rule”.
The 75-year rule was not made by the BJP by means of any institutional course of. It was the results of one man’s fiat. And at the moment, it was the simplest technique to retire plenty of senior individuals who might need been thorns within the flesh of the brand new rulers, or a minimum of been inconvenient to them. The rule may be simply disbursed with, now that its objective has been served. In any case, guidelines are made for males, not males for the foundations.
Within the USA, a president just isn’t eligible for a 3rd time period. We have now due to this fact had many presidents who occupied that workplace at a really younger age, in contrast to the current incumbent Joe Biden whose time period has begun on the age of 78.
In India, we’ve no limitation of phrases, so we will stick with it undeterred each so far as age and phrases of workplace are involved. Ought to we’ve such a limitation? I’m not too positive. In any case, in a democracy ought to we not depart these items to be determined by the folks? However it’s equally true that so long as these issues are left to events, they may body guidelines solely to interrupt them. So far as Sreedharan is anxious, there may be nothing to carry him again, together with his age. So if the folks of Kerala need, he can turn into their Chief Minister, however they need to vote BJP to energy within the coming elections. Allow us to see whether or not the BJP’s gamble pays off.
Yashwant Sinha, former BJP chief, was Minister of Finance (1998-2002) and Minister of Exterior Affairs (2002-2004)
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