After Advani, BJP asks veteran MM Joshi not to contest again

Murli Manohar Joshi. (File Photo: IANS)
Murli Manohar Joshi had won the Kanpur Lok Sabha seat in 2014. Photo: IANS

New Delhi: Former BJP president and Lok Sabha MP Murli Manohar Joshi has been asked by his party not to contest the coming general election, a development in line with its decision not to field many of its veterans, including its founding member and longest serving chief L K Advani, in the polls.

Joshi's office confirmed the development. It said Joshi has issued a brief statement for voters in Kanpur, from where the 85-year-old leader had won in 2014.

The statement said BJP general secretary (organisation) Ram Lal, a Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) appointee, had conveyed Joshi the party leadership's decision that he should not be contesting the elections.

He had vacated Varanasi seat, which he had won in 2009, for Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014.

It, however, remains to be seen if the former Union minister, who along with former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Advani, was seen as BJP's face for more than two decades, will reconcile to the decision or not.

Joshi heads Parliament's Estimates Committee and some of its observations, including on jobs, the GDP and non-performing assets, embarrassed the government.

BJP leaders said the party has taken a "principled decision" that veterans should make the way for younger leaders.

The BJP has also not given tickets to likes of B C Khanduri, Kariya Munda, Kalraj Mishra, Bijoya Chakravarty - all many term MPs and over 80 years of age - besides Advani (91).

In a letter to the people of Kanpur, Joshi said: "Dear people of Kanpur, general secretary of the BJP Ramlal conveyed to me today that I should not contest the ensuing parliamentary election from Kanpur and elsewhere."

Joshi, 85, had left his Varanasi seat for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He then won the 2014 elections from Kanpur.

(With inputs from PTI and IANS)