BJP chief meets Advani, Joshi

BJP chief meets Advani, Joshi

New Delhi, April 8 (IANS) BJP President Amit Shah on Monday met party veterans L.K. Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi hours after top party leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, unveiled the party’s ‘Sankalp Patra’ for the Lok Sabha polls.

Shah drove to the residences of Advani and Joshi, who have been virtually sidelined in the party and were reportedly upset with the way they were denied party tickets from the constituencies they represented.

Although there was no official word by the party about the meeting, the party leaders asserted that Shah shared the party manifesto and took their inputs.

However, sources said Shah explained them about party’s decision of not fielding candidates above 75 years of age.

Shah’s meeting with Advani comes four days after the party veteran appeared to take a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership by saying that the party never viewed its political foes as “anti-national”.

Advani, who has been denied ticket from the Gandhinagar Lok Sabha seat, wrote a blog saying the BJP has never considered its political opponents as “enemies” or “anti-nationals”.

“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’,” Advani said.

The comments were seen as a message by Advani to the Modi leadership which has been alleging that those raising questions over the Balakot air strike in Pakistan were working against national interests.

Opposition leaders, including Congress and its President Rahul Gandhi, have hit out at Modi and Shah for “disregard” shown to veterans.

Amit Shah is now contesting from Gandhinagar, a constituency Advani has represented in the Lok Sabha since 1991.

After being denied ticket, Joshi had issued a statement saying the BJP told him that he would not be nominated by the party from Kanpur. Joshi has been replaced by Satyadev Pachauri for the seat.

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