BJP asks Joshi to not contest Lok Sabha polls
New Delhi, Mar 26 : Former BJP president and Lok Sabha MP Murli Manohar Joshi has been asked by the party to not contest the coming general election, a development in line with its decision to not field many of its veterans in the polls, including its founding member and longest serving chief L K Advani.
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) Ramlal, a Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) appointee, had conveyed Joshi the party leadership's decision that he should not be contesting the elections.
"Dear voters of Kanpur, Shri Ramlal, General Secretary (Org), Bharatiya Janata Party conveyed to me today that I should not contest the ensuing parliamentary election from Kanpur and elsewhere," Joshi wrote in the statement.
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.
While some veterans have come out to express their wish to not contest the poll- apparently on the prodding of the party's leadership- many others like Advani have refrained from doing so.
However, no senior leader, who has been denied the ticket, has criticised the decision or attacked the leadership.
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 Shanta Kumar, B C Khanduri, Kariya Munda, Kalraj Mishra, Bijoya Chakravarty - all many term MPs and over 80 years of age - besides Advani (91).