2nd member of ‘Margdarshak Mandal’, after Advani, to be denied ticket.
New Delhi: Murli Manohar Joshi, a Bharatiya Janata Party veteran and a former party president, has been told by the party leadership that he will not be contesting the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls. Dr Joshi is a sitting MP from Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh.
The BJP on Tuesday released its tenth list of candidates for Lok Sabha elections, declaring 29 nominees for Uttar Pradesh and 10 for West Bengal, and it nominated Satyadev Pachauri to contest from Kanpur.
Sources said that though Dr Joshi was keen to contest elections, poll managers of the saffron party were not in favour as the chances of the Congress’ candidate, former Union minister Sriprakash Jaiswal, winning from Kanpur this time look stronger.
Dr Joshi, who had vacated the Varanasi parliamentary seat for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and contested from Kanpur instead in 2014, had defeated Mr Jaiswal by more than two lakh votes.
Miffed with the decision to not field him, and unhappy with the manner in which the party’s central leadership conveyed the decision to him, Dr Joshi wrote an open letter to Kanpur voters informing them he has been told by party general secretary (organisation) Ramlal that he “should not contest the ensuing parliamentary election from Kanpur and elsewhere.”
Dr Joshi is the second party veteran and member of the party’s “Margdarshak Mandal”, after L.K. Advani, who has been denied a ticket this time. The “Margdarshak Mandal” was formed after the BJP came to power at the Centre and the party leadership placed an unofficial age bar of 75 years for organisational posts to promote second-generation leaders. However, the “Margdarshak Mandal” is perhaps the only group within the BJP that never held a single meeting since its inception.
Mr Advani had contested from Gujarat’s Gandhinagar in 2014, a seat that has gone to party president Amit Shah.
Interestingly, Dr Joshi’s name is also missing from the list of BJP’s campaigners for UP polls. Mr Advani’s name also did not appear in the party’s campaigners list in 2014, and now.
Though the party leadership had claimed that the age bar is only for holding a post either in the organisation or the government, it has been implemented for ticket selection. Mr Advani at 91 and Dr Joshi at 85 have crossed the BJP’s age bar of 75 and join the list of other leaders who have been benched — B.C. Khanduri, B.S. Koshiyari, Kariya Munda, Kalraj Mishra, Bijoya Chakravarty and Shanta Kumar.
Taking a dig at the BJP leadership over the issue, AAP chief and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted, “The way Modiji has insulted his elders — Advaniji and Murli Manohar Joshiji — is completely against Hindu traditions... Hinduism teaches us to respect our elders. The elders who built the home were thrown out. One who can’t be loyal to his elders, who will he be loyal to? Is this the Indian tradition?”
Reacting on the development, Congress’ Manish Tewari said, “If this is true that Murli Manohar Joshi has been benched, this is Narendra Modi’s payback for the scathing Estimates Committee Report that Dr Joshi authored that exposed India’s defence spending as a per cent of GDP is at pre-1962 levels.”