BJP senior leader Lal Krishna Advani, who has been dropped from the party's list of candidates for the Lok Sabha Elections 2019, has finally spoken.
In a blog titled "Nation first, party next, self last", LK Advani wrote that the party of which he is a founding member never called its political opponents 'anti-national' and it has been committed to 'freedom of choice of every citizen'.
The blog is addressed to BJP workers and is written ahead of the party's Foundation Day on April 6.
The 91-year-old Advani said that this is an important occasion for all of us in the BJP to look back, look ahead and look within.
"I deem it to be my duty to share my reflections with the people of India, and more specifically with the millions of workers of my party, both of whom have indebted me with their affection and respect," Advani said.
Reminding the fundamental principle of the democracy, LK Advani said: "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," he said.
Advani, who is the longest serving BJP president, said that 'Nation First, Party Next, Self Last' has been the guiding principle of his life and had tried to adhere to this principle in all situation of life.
Advani along with senior leaders like Murli Manohar Joshi and BC Khanduri have been denied ticket for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections 2019 after the party decided that senior leaders aged 75 years, or more, will not hold any public office.
Advani, who served as Union home minister and deputy prime minister during the Atal Behari Vajpayee government, had vacated the Gandhinagar Lok Sabha seat for BJP president Amit Shah. Advani had been fighting elections from Gandhinagar since 1998, a time when Shah used to be his poll manager. He had won from Gandhinagar for the first time in 1991, and retained the seat in 1998, 1999, 2004, 2009 and 2014.
Edited by Chitranjan Kumar