Mamata Banerjee, the Chief Minister of West Bengal, welcomed BJP veteran LK Advani's blog on Thursday and said opposition parties who raise their voices are indeed not "anti-national". In a blog that was widely perceived as a message to his party, Mr Advani said the BJP never regarded those who disagreed with it politically as "anti-national" or "enemies" but only as adversaries.
"As the senior most politician, former Deputy Prime Minister and founding father of BJP, the views Advaniji has expressed about extending democratic courtesies, is significant. Of course all Opposition who raise their voices are not anti national. We welcome his statement and convey our humble regards," Mamata Banerjee said in a tweet.
As the senior most politician, fmr Dy PM and founding father of BJP, the views AdvaniJi has expressed about extending democratic courtesies,is significant. Of course, all Opposition who raise their voices are not anti national. We welcome his statement & convey our humble regards— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) April 4, 2019
Mr Advani has been upset with his party over the way he was edged out of the national election contest, with BJP president Amit Shah deciding to fight from the Gandhinagar seat in Gujarat, which the 91-year-old party patriarch had held for six terms. The blog is his first public statement since then.
The timing of Mr Advani's blog is significant.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah have made national security a key plank for the April-May elections and have often accused political rivals of speaking the language of India's enemies like Pakistan.
Mamata Banerjee's relations with LK Advani are believed to be friendly. In March, when the BJP announced Amit Shah as its candidate for Gandhinagar, the Trinamool chief expressed her "sadness" at the way "old gold" was being forced to make way for others.
"[Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari] Vajpayee ji, Advani ji were the pillars of the BJP," PTI quoted Ms Banerjee as saying. "Advani ji is a senior man. And now how he has been left out. This is of course an insult to Advani."
Last evening, PM Modi tweeted a response to Mr Advani's blog. There was no mention of Advani's main protest - the increasing trend of BJP top brass anyone with a differing view as anti-national.
"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 Advaniji have strengthened it," tweeted the Prime Minister.