Those who disagree with BJP are not anti-national, says Advani

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on April 04, 2019

BJP veteran LK Advani (file photo)   -  THE HINDU

In a scathing blog, Advani calls for ‘introspection’ and democratic tolerance

BJP veteran LK Advani on Wednesday made an indirect but scathing critique of the present dispensation in his party which unceremoniously ousted him by naming Amit Shah as candidate from Gandhinagar for the general elections.

Advani chose the BJP’s Foundation Day on April 6 to break his silence in a blog titled ‘Nation First, Party Next, Self Last’ to tell the party to do an “honest introspection” on the core values that include not branding political adversaries as “enemies” and “anti-nationals” and respect democratic traditions.

‘Adversaries, not enemies’

“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. 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 freedom of choice of every citizen at personal as well as political level,” said Advani.

In an election campaign where the ruling BJP has routinely taken to branding the opposition parties as ‘terrorist/Maoist/Jehadi’ supporters, the BJP patriarch reminded his party that defence of democracy and democratic traditions has been the party’s hallmark.

Corruption-free polity

“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, the BJP has always been at the forefront of demanding protection of independence, integrity, fairness and robustness of all our democratic institutions, including the media. Electoral reforms, with 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,” said the BJP patriarch.

The BJP has sidelined its founder members, specifically Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, in the last five years, removing them from all decision-making bodies in the party and confining them to a non-functional Margdarshak Mandal.

The party, where all major decisions are largely taken by BJP President Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, refused to field them in the Lok Sabha elections. Advani was replaced by Amit Shah in Gandhinagar, a constituency he has represented six times since 1991, and Joshi too was denied a ticket from Kanpur from where he won in 2014 general elections.

Joshi even wrote an open letter to his constituents in Kanpur specifying that the decision to not contest was not his.

Advani ended his blog asking for an introspection at a time when election campaign is at its peak.

Published on April 04, 2019

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