After LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi Benched by BJP; Maneka Gandhi and Varun Swap Seats
Joshi (85) joins the list of veterans, including L K Advani, Shanta Kumar, B C Khanduri and Kalraj Mishra, who have been denied the ticket by the BJP.
File photo of BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi.
New Delhi: The BJP dropped its former president Murli Manohar Joshi as its candidate from Kanpur for the Lok Sabha polls and swapped constituencies of Maneka Gandhi and her son Varun Gandhi as the party announced candidates for 39 more seats on Tuesday.
The BJP repeated Union minister Manoj Sinha from Ghazipur, his ministerial colleague Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti from Fatehpur and its Uttar Pradesh president Mahendra Nath Pandey from Chandauli. UP government ministers Rita Bahuguna Joshi and Satyadev Pachauri have been fielded from prestigious Allahabad and Kanpur seats respectively.
Its general secretary Arun Singh told reporters that the party has announced 29 candidates from UP and 10 from West Bengal. The BJP has so far announced its 349 nominees for the elections to the 543-member Lok Sabha.
Actor-turned-politician Jaya Prada was fielded from Rampur only hours after she joined the party and will take on her bitter rival Azam Khan, the Samajwadi Party candidate, in the general elections.
Joshi (85) joins the list of veterans, including L K Advani, Shanta Kumar, B C Khanduri and Kalraj Mishra, who have been denied the ticket by the BJP, apparently on the ground of their age and grooming younger leaders in their place. The BJP had conveyed to Joshi that it will not field him in the polls.
In a statement to CNN-News18, Joshi said he was asked by party general secretary Ramlal to not contest the elections. In the 2014 election, Joshi had vacated his Varanasi seat for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and then won Kanpur by a record margin, securing 57% of the votes. Joshi, a former union minister, has also not been included in the list of campaigners in Uttar Pradesh.
The list also put to rest the speculation over the fate of Varun Gandhi, who was seen to be not in the good books of the party's leadership.
It is believed that Maneka Gandhi had asked the party leadership to field her son from Pilibhit, from where she has won a number of times and which is seen a relatively safe seat for her family.
Varun Gandhi had won from there once in 2009 and will now contest from there while his mother will fight from Sultanpur, which he had won in 2014.
National Commission for Scheduled Castes Chairman Ram Shankar Katheria, who had won from Agra in 2014, has been fielded from Etawah, replacing Ashok Kumar Doharey.
The party has fielded its farmers' wing chief Virendra Singh 'Mast' from Ballia, replacing Bharat Singh. Mast had won from Bhadohi in 2014. Its Scheduled Castes' wing head Vinod Sonkar has been renominated from Kaushambi.
The BJP had won 28 of the 29 seats for which it announced its candidates on Tuesday. Names of seven incumbents did not figure on the list. However, two of them, Allahabad MP Shyama Charan Gupta and Bahraich MP Savitri Bai Phule, had quit the party.
In West Bengal, the party has given the ticket to Humayon Kabir, who had quit the Trinamool Congress last year, from Murshidabad.
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