The BJP has decided to exclude LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi from its list of star campaigners for this year’s Lok Sabha polls. Joshi is also reportedly feeling humiliated by the BJP leadership because of the way he was told to not contest elections.
In a note to his supporters, Joshi wrote, “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. (Murli Manohar Joshi).”
People close to Joshi said that the veteran BJP leader was peeved that the party had chosen a relatively low-rank functionary to communicate its decision to deny him the ticket. “At least Amit Shah should have personally visited him,” said one leader.
Ramlal had reportedly asked Joshi to personally announce that he was not contesting this year’s elections, but he refused. His name later did not feature even in the list of star campaigners.
Joshi had vacated Varanasi seat for Narendra Modi in 2014 and contested from Kanpur.
After Modi won a landslide in 2014, he had refused to accommodate Joshi and Advani into his cabinet. Instead he had formed a new five-member group of elders called Margdarshak Mandal which would advise the government and the party. The group, which also included former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, never met in the last five years.
Both Joshi and Advani have been founding members of the BJP. Advani, according to sources, too felt humiliated because the BJP had tasked Ramlal to convey him the decision to deny him a ticket this time around.
Just like Joshi, the party wanted Advani to announce himself that he was not contesting, but he refused. Advani had won from Gandhinagar in 2014. The seat this year has been given to BJP President Amit Shah.