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“Modi will not Retire at 75, will Remain in Office for Full Term,” Amit Shah

“Modi will not Retire at 75, will Remain in Office for Full Term,” Amit Shah

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Manas Dasgupta

NEW DELHI, May 11: The Union Home Minister Amit Shah was on Saturday forced to clarify that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi would break his own set rules and continue to hold the post even beyond 75 years of age if the BJP retained power in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.

Mr Shah’s clarification came on a clever move by the Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal who reminded the voters that the BJP was seeking votes in the name of Mr Modi and “Modi ji’s guarantee” but actually the vote for BJP would go to Mr Amit Shah who was being groomed as the next prime minister.

Mr Kejriwal pointed out that after winning the elections in 2014, Mr Modi had set the rule to retire from active politics all leaders beyond the age of 75 or as and when they attain 75. In the process Mr Modi forced retirement of a host of leaders then including Mr LK Advani, Mr Murli Manohar Joshi, Mr Yashwant Sinha, and several others as well as leaders like the then Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan or the then Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel when they attained 75.

“These people ask INDIA bloc about prime ministerial face. I ask BJP who will be their PM? Modi ji is turning 75 on September 17 next year. He himself made the rule in 2014 that people aged 75 will be retired. They retired LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Sumitra Mahajan,” Mr Kejriwal said and added, “by his own set rules, he will retire from the post and hand over the prime ministerial office to Mr Amit Shah. But will Mr Shah stand for Modi ji’s guarantee?” Mr Kejriwal, who was granted interim bail by the Supreme Court on Friday to campaign for his party in the Lok Sabha elections, posed the question while addressing a press conference on Saturday afternoon.

Mr Shah was forced to take note of Mr Kejriwal’s swipe at Mr Modi that he was setting the ground for him to take over as Prime Minister in future. Responding to Mr Kejriwal, the Home Minister told reporters the Delhi Chief Minister was hugely mistaken that PM Modi would step aside when he hits 75. “I want to say this to Arvind Kejriwal and company and INDIA bloc that nothing as such (75-year-old limit rule) is mentioned in the BJP’s constitution. PM Modi is only going to complete this tenure and PM Modi will continue to lead the country in future. There is no confusion in the BJP,” Mr Shah said.

Mr Kejriwal also attacked Mr Modi as someone who wanted “one nation, one leader,” alluding to the BJP’s push for ‘one nation, one election’ system. He said the BJP was doing something very dangerous, their mission was “One nation, one leader.” They have been after all Opposition leaders. If they win the elections, they will put all Opposition leaders including Mamata Banerjee, M.K. Stalin, Uddhav Thackeray behind bars.

“There is a pattern to the BJP’s attacks – jail all chief ministers in Opposition-ruled states and overthrow the government,” said the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief, who did not resign as Chief Minister when he was arrested and jailed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the Delhi liquor policy case. He pointed at how Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren was also “hounded” by central agencies, allegedly on the behest of the central government.

“First they came for the Opposition, and now they are coming after their own leaders. They ruined Vasundhra Raje, Manohar Lal Khattar and so many more leaders from within their party because they are focused on one nation, one leader. They will go after Yogi Adityanath next,” Mr Kejriwal said.

Later addressing his party workers at the AAP headquarters in New Delhi, Mr Kejriwal asserted the BJP would not return to power and said the INDIA bloc would form the government on June 4. “In last 20 hours after release from jail, I talked to poll experts and people and got to know the BJP is not going to form the government,” he said. “The AAP will be part of the government at the Centre. We will get full statehood for Delhi,” he added.

He said Mr Modi wanted to finish AAP but the prime minister failed to realise that the AAP was not just a political party but a “thought.” “They want to crush us, but the Aam Aadmi Party is an idea. It will keep growing the more they try to finish us,” Mr Kejriwal said. “Our AAP is a small party, present in two states. But the Prime Minister left no stone unturned to crush our party and sent four leaders to jail at the same time. If four top leaders of big parties go to jail, the party ends,” Mr Kejriwal said.

Mr Kejriwal claimed Prime Minister Modi believes that AAP was the country’s future. “Anyone who goes to meet the PM tells us that for first 15 minutes of the meeting, they talk about AAP and how it will lead the country in the future. That’s why they are scared of us. If they work hard for the development of this nation, no one will ask about AAP but they don’t do that,” he said.

“The PM says that he is fighting against corruption but all the corrupt people join the BJP and the party accepts them. If PM wants to learn about fighting corruption, he should learn from Arvind Kejriwal, we sent corrupt to jail,” said the AAP chief. “All the thieves and liars have joined the BJP, and their cases vanished. But he arrested me to send a message. The message was to tell everyone that if I can arrest Kejriwal, then I can arrest anyone,” he added.



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