New Delhi: BJP stalwart Murli Manohar Joshi will not contest the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections 2019. The veteran leader has reportedly announced that he has been asked by the party general secretary Ramlal to stay out of the poll fray.

“Dear people of Kanpur, General Secretary of the BJP Ramlal conveyed to me today that I should not contest the ensuing parliamentary election from Kanpur and elsewhere,”Joshi reportedly wrote in a letter to the people of Kanpur.

Joshi, who won in 2014 from Kanpur, was the BJP President between 1991 and 1993 and has also represented Allahabad and Varanasi in Parliament. In 2014, he was shifted to Kanpur after the party decided to field Narendra Modi from Varanasi.

Reacting to the news, BJP leader Siddharth Nath Singh said, “We have spoken to our ‘margdarshak’, we have always been grateful to them for building this party. People who are crying foul should ask why Mulayam Singh Yadav was denied a ticket from his seat?”

The development comes days after LK Advani (91) was not named as a BJP candidate from Gandhinagar for the forthcoming polls. Advani, a veteran BJP leader, had been winning elections from Gandhinagar since 1998 but this time the BJP’s central election committee replaced him with party president Amit Shah.

Notably, Advani and Joshi are considered the top leaders of the ruling party after former Prime Minister Late Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The duo were the founding members of the BJP, along with late former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

However, they did not find a place in BJP’s parliamentary board, when Amit Shah took charge as the party president. Instead, he created a ‘Marg Darshak Mandal’ comprising them as well as Prime Minister Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh.