Critics are never regarded as anti-nationals, Advani’s message to BJP

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New Delhi, April 4 : When the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party benched LK Advani, the veteran leader made it a point to issue a precious advice to the BJP in a blog titled “Nation First, Party Next, Self Last”, in which he said that the party never regarded his critics as “enemies” or “anti-nationals”and urged the party to “look back, look ahead and look within” and stressed on “democracy and democratic traditions” within.

Emphasising that the saffron party advocates for freedom of choice and does not believe in branding people “anti-national” for their different political stand.

“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,” he wrote in the blog ahead of the BJP’s foundation day on April 6.

For the first time the 91-year-old BJP leader spoke on the saffron party issues after the party announced the decision to field Amit Shah from Advani’s traditional Gandhinagar seat.His views assume significance at a time when the BJP under Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah have made the issue of national security a key plank for the general elections and have often accused its political rivals of speaking the language of India’s enemies like Pakistan.

He also thanked Gandhinagar for sending him to the Lok Sabha six times since 1991. “I take this opportunity to convey my most sincere gratitude to the people of Gandhinagar, who have elected me to the Lok Sabha six times since 1991. Their love and support has always overwhelmed me,” Advani said.

“Defense of democracy and democratic traditions, both within the Party and in the larger national setting, has been the proud hallmark of the BJP,” Mr Advani wrote.

“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.”
“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.”
“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.”

That is the reason, the 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 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 the BJP, wrote Advani.

“It is my sincere desire that all of us should collectively strive to strengthen the democratic edifice of India. True, elections are a festival of democracy. But they are also 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,” said Advani.

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