The next Lok Sabha will miss the towering presence of two Parliamentarians -- A B Vajpayee and Somnath Chatterjee [ Images ] -- who witnessed the blooming of Indian Parliamentary system in the past 40 years.
BJP patriarch Vajpayee and Lok Sabha Speaker [ Images ] Chatterjee, the senior-most and the only two ten-term MPs in the 14th Lok Sabha, will not be contesting the general elections this time for different reasons.
Ill health prevents Vajpayee, who mesmerised the Lower House with his eloquence, from fighting the polls while Chatterjee, who had a bitter split with CPI(M), has already declared that he will keep away from active politics from now.
Vajpayee, who became a member of the Lok Sabha for the first time in 1957 in the second Lok Sabha, is an MP with 40 years experience though not in successive houses. He missed the third (1962), eighth (1984) and ninth (1989) Lok Sabhas.
Chatterjee's record is impeccable as he did not lose a single election since 1971 and is completing consecutive 38 years as a people's representative in the Lok Sabha.
If elected, nine-term MPs former Defence Minister George Fernandes [ Images ] and Congress' Giridhar Gamang, who are only junior to Vajpayee and Chatterjee in parliamentary experience, will be the senior most leaders in the Lok Sabha.
Out of a total of 543 MPs, 71 were elected to the Lok Sabha five or more times.
One-third of the experienced lawmakers belong to Congress with 23 of its 150 MPs were elected to the Lok Sabha more than five times.
The leaders from Congress who have such distinction include M H Gavit (eight terms), Kamal Nath, Santosh Mohan Dev, Satyanarayan Jatiya (all seven terms), P Chidambaram [ Images ] (six terms) and P R Dasmunsi (five terms).
The BJP has 15 MPs who were elected to the Lok Sabha more than five terms followed by CPI(M) which has eight such MPs in the Lok Sabha.
Among the prominent BJP MPs are Sumitra Mahajan, Kashi Ram Rana (both six terms), L K Advani [ Images ] and Maneka Gandhi (both five terms).
The CPI(M) MPs include its Lok Sabha leader Basudeb Acharia, Hannan Mollah (both eight terms) and Anil Basu (seven terms).
Out of these eight CPI(M) MPs, including Chatterjee who was expelled from the party after he refused to toe party line during the trust vote last year, six will contest the elections.
Chatterjee, as expected, and Basu do not figure in the list of candidates announced by CPI(M).