New Delhi: Veteran BJP leader L.K. Advani Thursday took a veiled dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his attempt to paint the Congress as anti-national, in wake of the opposition party raising questions about the Balakot air strikes and promising to scrap the sedition law in its manifesto.
The BJP patriarch, who has been completely sidelined in the party by the newer crop of leaders led by Modi, also said that “Loktantra (both within and outside the party)” was one of the basic tenets of cultural nationalism that guided the evolution of the BJP.
“Defence of democracy and democratic traditions, both within the Party and in the larger national setting, has been the proud hallmark of the BJP,” Advani has written in his blog. “Therefore BJP has always been in the forefront of demanding protection of independence, integrity, fairness and robustness of all our democratic institutions, including the media,” he added.
“In short, the triad of Satya (truth), Rashtra Nishtha (dedication to the nation) and Loktantra (democracy, both within and outside the Party) guided the struggle-filled evolution of my Party,” Advani wrrote. “The sum total of all these values constitutes Sanskritik Rashtravad (Cultural Nationalism) and Su-Raj (good governance), to which my Party has always remained wedded. The heroic struggle against the Emergency rule was precisely to uphold the above values.”
‘Essence of Indian democracy is respect for diversity’
Breaking his silence after denial of party ticket in the Lok Sabha elections, Advani said that the essence of Indian democracy is respect for diversity and freedom of expression.
“Right from its inception, the BJP has never regarded those who disagree with us politically as our ‘enemies’ but only as our adversaries,” the BJP patriarch wrote in his blog. “Similarly, in our conception of Indian nationalism, we have never regarded those who disagree with us politically as ‘anti-national’.”
The party has been committed to the freedom of choice of every citizen at the personal as well as the political level, he added.
Although Advani didn’t name any BJP leader, his statement came in the backdrop of Modi, BJP president Amit Shah and other party leaders consistently painting the principal opposition party as anti-national.
‘BJP leaders need to look back, look within’
Ahead of the BJP’s Foundation Day on 6 April, the former deputy prime minister said it’s an important occasion for BJP leaders to look back, look ahead and look within.
He has further written that he deems it his duty to share his reflections with the people of India, specifically with the millions of BJP workers. He also conveyed his gratitude to the people of Gandhinagar who elected him to the Lok Sabha six times since 1991.
Driving home his long association with the party, of which he is one of the founders, and with the RSS, Advani said it was a rare privilege to work closely with stalwarts such as Deendayal Upadhyaya, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and “many other great, inspiring and self-less leaders”.