Advani, Joshi, Sushma likely to get RS berths

The BJP is likely to give Rajya Sabha berths to party veterans LK Advani, Murali Manohar Joshi and Sushma Swaraj, who were denied party nomination during recent Lok Sabha polls. Among them, Sushma Swaraj herself decided to opt out from the polls, due to her `poor’ health.

However, party now is said to be considering to facilitate them to become Rajya Sabha members, for which by-elections are slated to be held very soon for the seats vacated by three union ministers, who were elected to Lok Sabha. The party is likely to take a decision in this regard later this week.

The party that stormed back to power, winning 303 of the 543 Lok Sabha seats will also deliberate on a possible rejig in the organisational structure, including the appointment of a new party president to replace the incumbent Amit Shah, who has taken over as Union home minister.

After both Advani and Joshi were denied party seats in Lok Sabha elections, on the plea of their advanced age, there has been speculation whether the two senior leaders will be moved to the Upper House of Parliament. In 2014, they were included in the BJP’s Margadarshak Mandal [advisory committee], which did not met even once during last five years.

A former deputy prime minister, Advani is a nonagenarian, while Joshi, a former human resource development minister, is 85 years old. A section of the party is seeking that a cut-off age should be imposed for Rajya Sabha as well, the party leader cited above said on the condition of anonymity.

In 2014, when the BJP came to power, it declared 75 years as the age limit for ministerial positions. The norm was extended to Lok Sabha elections this year even though the party did not make an official announcement about it.

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