Murli Manohar Joshi, in letter to voters, says BJP told him not to contest at all

Murli Manohar Joshi, in letter to voters, says BJP told him not to contest at all
Murli Manohar Joshi, in letter to voters, says BJP told him not to contest at all

Bharatiya Janata Party leader Murli Manohar Joshi will not contest from the Kanpur Lok Sabha seat, the BJP confirmed on Tuesday after a letter from the party veteran emerged informing people of the city that he had been asked by the party not to contest from here or elsewhere.

In the letter, Joshi, who was insistent on contesting the seat for a second time, said the party’s organisational secretary Ram Lal had conveyed to him that he would not be contesting from Kanpur or elsewhere.

BJP’s city president Surendra Maithani said the letter was genuine and that it had been released by Joshi’s office. “I have confirmed from him (Joshi) and his office. Indeed, he has written the letter,” Maithani said. Joshi was not available for comments despite repeated attempts.

“It is a decision of the party leadership and we are all committed workers; our leadership has been a blessing for us,” Maithani said. On being asked if Joshi was upset, he said, “I do not know. They are big people and the situation is a bit weird. The party has decided and we are bound by it.”

Indications of Joshi sulking became apparent on Sunday night when he cancelled his Kanpur visit scheduled for Monday to attend the politically significant Ganga Mela on Tuesday. The mela is held on the banks of the Ganga after the week-long Holi revelry.

The BJP will soon announce its candidate for Kanpur seat, which it has held for four times since 1991.

The decision on the party’s candidate was on hold as Joshi had put his foot down to contest from Kanpur. Party leaders say internal surveys showed that his popularity in the city was at its lowest.

“He was not available in his constituency and he visited it eight to 10 times in the last five years; there was a disconnect on his part,” said a party leader, adding that the party wanted to replace him with a younger leader, preferably a Brahmin.

For the Kanpur seat, the BJP is reportedly considering the names of UP deputy CM Dinesh Sharma, national spokesman Sudhanshu Trivedi, BJP city president Surendra Maithani and UP industries minister Satish Mahana. But the local leadership last week apprised the central leadership that it won’t be prudent to parachute an outsider in Kanpur again.

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