LK Advani defended Narendra Modi on Friday saying he should not be admonished for the Sohrabuddin Sheikh remark, which was “provoked” by Sonia Gandhi’s “merchant of death” comment. He demanded that the Election Commission act impartially and also issue a notice to the Congress chief.
Although he had not spoken to the Gujarat chief minister, Advani said: “On the basis of whatever I have read in newspapers, I can say that his statement would not have come had the Congress president not made those remarks.”
He told a news conference that Sonia’s use of words like “merchant of death” (maut ka saudagar) and “dishonest” (beiman) against Modi were “highly objectionable” and warned that such talk would cost the Congress dear in elections.
“The Election Commission should not have double standards and should adopt a uniform approach in both the cases. Our party has already complained to the Election Commission regarding the Congress president’s remarks and I would like to know whether Sonia Gandhi has been issued any notice so far.”
Such remarks are not good for democracy, said Advani, who emphasised that the BJP and Congress should be political adversaries, not enemies. “I had said this to Rahul Gandhi (when they met at Delhi airport recently) also. I sincerely appeal to everyone, including Sonia Gandhi, not to make such provocative statements. I make this appeal in national interest and for the good of Indian democracy.”
Asked if he included Modi, too, he said: “Yes, certainly.”
On whether he supported extra-constitutional killings, Advani said “absolutely not”. “In a democracy, rule of law has to be observed and if there is a breach of law courts are there to take congnizance.”
The senior leader laughed when asked if Modi has grown bigger than the party, and said he would be happy if any worker’s popularity increases more than the organisation.
Advani sought to play down the dissidence in Gujarat BJP and ruled out action against former chief minister Keshubhai Patel. “In recent days he has not done anything that will warrant disciplinary action.”