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After Advani, BJP eases another icon M M Joshi out of LS election

New Delhi: After BJP veteran Lal Krishna Advani, another doyen and former party president, Murli Manohar Joshi, has been asked by the saffron party not to contest the coming Lok Sabha elections from 'Kanpur and elsewhere'. The 85-year-old leader made his feelings crystal clear by issuing a letter to the voters of his constituency, Kanpur, saying, "Ramlal, General Secretary (Org.) Bharatiya Janata Party conveyed to me that I should not contest the ensuing parliamentary election from Kanpur or elsewhere."

In 2014 Joshi had given up his Varanasi seat for the BJP's then prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and moved to Kanpur, where he won by a large margin. Not only that, he also headed Parliament's Estimates Committee, which had been critical of the Government's defence spend and also rising non-performing assets (NPAs) of state-run banks.

Joshi reportedly told the BJP MPs' financial committees such as Estimates Committee do not carry any notes of dissent on job generation data. The government is worried that if the data comes out, it will put the Modi government in an embarrassing situation as, during his campaigns in 2014, the PM had promised to create two crore jobs yearly.

Joshi, who has been a Union Minister, has also not been included in the list of campaigners in Uttar Pradesh. After a marathon meeting by the CEC, headed by the Prime Minister at the party headquarters on Monday, the decision was taken by the party top brass. Kalraj Mishra, Shanta Kumar and Kariya Munda too were informed by Ramlal that they would not contest this time. Shanta Kumar and Kariya Munda, also former Union Ministers, were reportedly told on phone.

Another Union Minister Giriraj Singh, who is miffed with the BJP for changing his seat from Nawada to Begusarai, said that he "cannot compromise with his self-respect".

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