The BJP’s Forgotten Margdarshak

There was a time when he was one of the most powerful politicians in India.

As Bharatiya Janata Party president, he undertook the Ekta Yatra from Kanyakumari to Srinagar in January 1992, accompanied by a BJP official named Narendra Damodardas Modi.

BJP president when the Babri Masjid was demolished, he was an accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case along with Lal Kishenchand Advani and others.

In the 1990s and early 2000s, he was seen as a member of the BJP’s ruling triumvirate alongside Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Advani even though he never rose above HRD minister — he served as home minister in Vajpayee’s 13-day government in May 1996 only because Advani had then taken a brief sanyas from politics because of the Jain hawala scandal.

He shared an uneasy relationship with Advani and Vajpayee and was hobbled by the lack of an independent power base.

Like Advani, his political star went into swift eclipse after the ascent of their political protege in 2014. Both men were cast into the wilderness, members of the high sounding but in reality meaningless Margdarshak Mandal.

While Advani has not been seen in public for a long time — the pandemic probably ensured that the nonagenarian stayed home with minimum contact with the public — Murli Manohar Joshi turned up as the chief guest for a felicitation at the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi on Wednesday, October 20, 2021.

Please click on the images for a better look at Dr Joshi’s rare public appearance.

IMAGE: Wearing a cap from his native Kumaon, Murli Manohar Joshi — who has a PhD in spectroscopy from Allahabad University — at the event. All Photographs: Shrikant Singh/ANI Photo

 

IMAGE: Dr Joshi felicitates Tokyo Paralympic 2020 Silver Medalist Suhas Lalinakere Yathiraj, who is also an IAS officer of the 2007 batch and currently serves as the district magistrate for Gautam Buddh Nagar.

 

IMAGE: Dr Joshi, who will be 88 on January 5, 2022, was asked to vacate the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat — which he had won in the 2009 general election — for his erstwhile shishya to contest in 2014.
The BJP veteran instead contested the Kanpur Lok Sabha seat in 2014, defeating Congress candidate Sriprakash Jaiswal by 222,946 votes.
Like Advani, Dr Joshi was dropped from the BJP’s roster of candidates for the 2019 general election.


 

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