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Refrain from public comments, Advani tells BJP leaders

Last updated on: June 21, 2009 17:58 IST

With senior BJP party leaders openly engaging in blame each other for Lok Sabha poll defeat, L K Advani today asked them to refrain from airing criticism in public, but said the party should not be found wanting in honest introspection which is different from finger-pointing.

"We should not be found wanting in honest introspection. But introspection is different from finger-pointing," Advani said in his concluding remarks at the BJP national executive meeting in New Delhi.

Seeking to assure partymen that there was an "internal mechanism" in the party to air grievances, he said adding however that they "should not air their critical views in public".

Advani said the party's stand on Hindutva should not be interpreted as championing the cause of only one religion.
Quoting RSS ideologue Balasaheb Deoras, he said the BJP did not support the concept of a theocratic state.

In an apparent attempt to distance himself from Varun Gandhi's hate-speech, Advani favoured the line taken by BJP leaders Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Shahnawaz Hussain who had contended that Varun's speech had cost the party dear in the elections.

"At our office-bearers meeting two days back, two eminent colleagues of ours affirmed their faith in Hindutva, but cautioned against any narrow, bigoted, anti-Muslim interpretation being put on it," he said.

Advani said in the aftermath of the defeat, two issues have been raised in public discourse as also within the BJP about its relations with the RSS and the correct meaning of Hindutva.

The political resolution adopted by the executive said Hinduism or Hindutva was not to be understood or construed narrowly, confined only to religious practices or expressed in extreme forms.

"Theocracy or any form of bigotry is alien to our ethos......It (Hindutva) is inclusive representing the finest imprints of our cultural and civilisational ideas with which the BJP is proud to be associated. Giving equal treatment to all regardless of their personal faith is integral to this idea.

The BJP reiterates its commitments to these ideas," the resolution said. During the debate, two Muslim leaders Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Shahnawaz Hussain clashed with Maneka Gandhi who accused one of them of "planting" stories in the media. The clash took place against the backdrop of the two leaders attacking her son Varun Gandhi's hate speeches against the minorities, which they felt had cost the party dearly.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan, Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi and former Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Gopinath Munde, who spoke in the executive, were also were critical of Maneka's views that the party need not bother much about the Muslims since they do not vote for BJP.

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