I can forgive some Pokemon cutting just because there are so many and most people will never see a lot of them anyway. Starters should always be in because, regardless of how you feel about one, you have some kind of opinion on it, and it's the first real choice you make in this RPG. If you ask me what I think of Bronzong or Ledian, I wouldn't be able to say much, but I've never used Chimchar in my life and I can tell you exactly how I feel about him and his design.
The decision just reeks of laziness. They didn't want to have to think of forms for Venusaur and Blastoise so they just cut them. They knew people would accuse them of favoritism if they weren't in so in some misguided attempt to be impartial, they just got rid of all of them.