Veterans who were missed in poll action this time

May 14th, 2009 - 3:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Priyanka Gandhi By Ashish Mehta
New Delhi, May 14 (IANS) Amid hate speeches and controversies, soundbytes and quotable quotes that marked the election 2009 campaign, it was difficult to notice the absence of a number of stalwarts as young guns like Varun Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi ruled prime time. Some of them are:

Atal Bihari Vajpayee

Time was when people waited for hours to listen to the speech of Vajpayee, one of the best orators in Indian politics. But the former prime minister is not even contesting this time due to poor health. The only time his name cropped up in the last two months was when he appealed to people to vote for his long-time colleague L.K. Advani, the prime ministerial candidate of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

Somnath Chatterjee

One of the most accomplished parliamentary orators and the speaker of the outgoing Lok Sabha will not be a member of the next house. His Bolpur constituency in West Bengal has become a reserved seat post delimitation, and his Communist Party of India-Marxist has sacked him as part of disciplinary action.

George Fernandes

He was coordinator of the NDA when the coalition was in power and held the defence portfolio. Now the firebrand union leader of the 1970s is a non-entity in his Janata Dal-United (JD-U) and had to contest the polls as an indpendent from Bihar.

Shivraj Patil

As home minister till December, Patil was the man in the hot seat as the country faced a number of Maoist strikes and a series of terrorist attacks. He was forced to quit after the Nov 26-29 Mumbai mayhem. He has not been heard of afterwards.

Natwar Singh

As external affairs minister, he was a senior member of Manmohan Singh’s cabinet but had to quit after his name cropped up in a UN report on corruption in the Food for Oil programme in Iraq. He quit the party along with his son Jagat Singh, and later joined the Bahujan Samaj Party. These days, he occasionally turns up on edit pages.

Bangaru Laxman

A Dalit leader, he became the BJP president in 2000 when the party-led NDA was in power, but a year later, he was seen accepting wads of currency notes from an undercover reporter posing as the representative of an arms company. In the 2004 elections, his wife Susheela was given the BJP ticket and was elected from Jalore in Rajasthan.

Govindacharya, Uma Bharati

Govindacharya was an influential ideologue of the BJP and Uma Bharati one of the party’s firebrand orators who went on to become chief minister of Madhya Pradesh and a central minister. But both are out of the party now.

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