New Delhi: BJP national president Amit Shah met party veterans LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi at their official residences in the national capital on Monday, amid discourse that the party benched and sidelined its founding members ahead of the Lok Sabha elections 2019.

Shah is believed to have met the two leaders, in an attempt to reconcile with the marg darshaks ahead of the elections and to explain the reason for not fielding them from their political citadels.

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This development also comes four days after Advani appeared to have taken 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 wrote.

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.

Advani, 91, one of the longest-serving president of the ruling BJP has been elected from the Gandhinagar parliamentary constituency seat six times since 1991. But this time, he was reportedly told by the party that Amit Shah would contest from the Gandhinagar Lok Sabha seat.

Meanwhile, Murli Manohar Joshi was also denied ticket from Kanpur after which he issued a statement saying BJP general secretary (organisation) Ram Lal, an RSS appointee, had conveyed him the party leadership’s decision that he should not be contesting the polls.

 

With IANS inputs