The absence of BJP leader LK Advani at an event to mark 40 years of Emergency, where party chief Amit Shah was the main speaker, set off speculation whether the veteran leader was invited.
A stalwart of the opposition's crusade against the Emergency, Advani was missing at the event organised by Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Research Foundation, a BJP-affilated body.
The Foundation's treasurer Shyam Jaju, who is BJP's vice-president, insisted that Advani was invited.
Shah, however, declined to answer reporters' queries on the matter.
Sources close to Advani, who has been marginalsed in the party, declined to comment, saying the question should be posed to the organisers.
In interviews leading to the anniversary of the Emergency, Advani had said that "forces that can crush democracy are stronger", creating a buzz in political circles leading to speculation that it was a barb aimed at Modi.
Advani had said he felt a dictatorial trend had emerged in political leadership. “Vajpayee was a tall leader with a successful record but I never heard someone at that time saying Vajpayee is India and India is Vajpayee,” he said.
The seven-time MP later clarified that his remarks were not aimed at any individual but at the Congress.
Read: BJP leader Advani clarifies 'Emergency' comment, says it was directed at Congress, not any individual