Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said that veteran BJP leader L K Advani, in his blog, has perfectly summed up the "true essence" of the party, particularly the mantra of 'Nation First, Party Second, Self Last'.
"Advani Ji perfectly sums up the true essence of BJP, most notably the guiding Mantra of ‘Nation First, Party Next, Self Last.’ Proud to be a BJP Karyakarta and proud that greats like LK Advani Ji have strengthened it," PM Modi tweeted.
The prime minister's remarks came after Advani wrote a blog ahead of the BJP's Founder's Day on April 6, in which he said that the party has never regarded those who disagreed with it politically as "anti-national" or "enemies" but only as adversaries.
His views assume significance at a time when the BJP under PM 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.
"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," the 91-year-old leader wrote in the blog.
In a blog written almost five years after he wrote the last piece on its web page, Advani added,"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."
Credited for orchestrating the BJP's rise to a pre-eminent position in the late 80s and 90s along with Atal Bihari Vajpayee after it won only two Lok Sabha seats in 1984.
Advani was moved out of the BJP's highest decision-making body, Parliamentary Board, in 2014 after Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the party to victory and Shah was made its president.