Even as the opposition parties accuse the BJP of sidelining its stalwarts in the ongoing Lok Sabha election, Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma on Monday said elderly leaders were revered only in the saffron party.
"What happened to former prime minister and Congress stalwart PV Narasimha Rao after his death is known to all of us. No one had gone to pay respect to the departed soul. Similarly, former Congress president Sitaram Kesri's end was very tragic. Apart from this, an office-bearer of the party (Congress chief Rahul Gandhi) had once torn a copy of a legislation passed by the Manmohan Singh government. Will they teach us how to show respect to our elders? It (Congress) is a party that alienates the elderly people," Sharma told PTI.
"On the contrary, Prime Minister Narendra Modi walked in the funeral procession of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Such is the quantum of respect in the BJP for its stalwarts. Both Atalji and (LK) Advaniji are our idols," he added.
The BJP has not fielded Advani in the ongoing Lok Sabha polls, prompting its rivals to take a dig at the saffron party.
"They (SP) are contesting only 37 seats (in Uttar Pradesh) and dreaming of either becoming the prime minister or facilitating someone else to become the prime minister. This is simply laughable. You were unable to bring development in Uttar Pradesh and you will end up worsening the entire country through your unrealistic schemes and announcements," he said.
Asserting that the BJP firmly believed in "nation first, party next and self last", Sharma said, "We are following this, but if someone is dreaming of dividing India, then the people of the country will give them an appropriate answer and their dreams will remain unfulfilled. The BJP will strongly deal with those who stay in India but want to hog the limelight in the Pakistani media. Elections may be the first priority for them, but for us, it is nation first.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)