Veteran BJP leader LK Advani
Veteran BJP leader LK Advani

BJP has never regarded its critics as enemies or anti-nationals: LK Advani

ANI | Updated: Apr 04, 2019 20:10 IST

New Delhi [India], Apr 4 (ANI): Veteran BJP leader L K Advani, who has virtually been sidelined in his party, on Thursday appeared to be sending out a message as he said the party has never considered those who disagree with it politically as “enemies” or “anti-national”. 
The 91-year-old leader, who has been denied a Lok Sabha ticket by the BJP for the first time, also said that “defence of democracy” within the party has been its “proud hallmark”.
In a blog two days ahead of BJP’s Foundation Day, he wrote about the essence of Indian democracy and emphasised the aspects like “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. Similarly, in our conception of Indian nationalism, we have never regarded those who disagree with us politically as ‘anti-national’,” the former Deputy Prime Minister wrote.
“The party has been committed to freedom of choice of every citizen at personal as well as political level,” he said.
The comments assume significance as these came amidst a raging debate over the issue of nationalism, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government saying the Opposition leaders who raise questions over the Balakot air strike are working against the country’s interests.
Referring to the party’s foundation day that will be celebrated on April 6, Advani wrote, “This is an important occasion for all of us in the BJP to look back, look ahead and look within.”
On the Lok Sabha elections, the veteran Parliamentarian said it is "an occasion for honest introspection by all the stakeholders in Indian democracy – political parties, mass media, authorities conducting the election process and, above all, the electorate".
Advani, one of the founders of the BJP, was denied a ticket this time. He has represented Gandhinagar seat of Gujarat in the Lok Sabha six times since 1991, for which he expressed his gratitude to the people of the constituency.
“The guiding principle of my life has been ‘Nation First, Party Next, Self Last’ and in all situations, I have tried to adhere to this principle and will continue to do so,” he wrote.
“Defence of democracy and democratic traditions, both within the party and in the larger national setting, has been the proud hallmark of the BJP. 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,” the party veteran wrote.
He said electoral reforms, with a special focus on transparency in political and electoral funding, “which is so essential for a corruption-free polity, has been another priority for our party.”
Stating that the BJP is a party which stands with truth and supports democracy, Advani wrote: “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. 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,” he added.
Expressing deep gratitude towards the citizen of the country for supporting the BJP, Advani said, “Their love and support has always overwhelmed me.”
He added, “Serving the Motherland has been my passion and my mission ever since I joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) at the age of 14. My political life has been inseparably associated with my Party for nearly seven decades – first with the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, and later with the Bharatiya Janata Party and I have been a founding member of both. It has been my rare privilege to work closely with stalwarts like Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee and many other great, inspiring and self-less leaders,” he added. (ANI)