In an implicit criticism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah, BJP veteran L.K. Advani on Thursday said the BJP never regarded those who disagreed with it politically as “enemies” but only viewed them as “adversaries”.
“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 said in a blog post written exactly after four years.
“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,” he added.
Advani, one of the founders of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh and later the Bharatiya Janata Party, said that elections were a festival of democracy and “are also an occasion for honest introspection by all the stakeholders in Indian democracy”.
“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.”
“In short, the triad of Satya (truth), Rashtra Nishtha (dedication to nation) and Loktantra (democracy, within and outside the party) guided the struggle-filled evolution of my party.”
Advani conveyed his “sincere gratitude” to the people of Gandhinagar, which he represented in the Lok Sabha six times since 1991 but where he was not fielded this time by the BJP.
“Their love and support has always overwhelmed me,” he said.