The veteran Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani has called upon political activists cutting across party lines to work together and conscientiously to take India to the forefront of nations.
Inaugurating a civic reception here on Sunday for the veteran BJP leader and former Union Minister of State for Railways O. Rajagopal on his completion of 50 years of public life, Mr. Advani said the message of unity given by Swami Vivekananda way back in 1897 had great relevance for contemporary India. Vivekananda had, in one of his addresses, appealed to the people to leave the gods and goddesses for the following 50 years. The 50 years he had mentioned ended with 1947. “Today, I would appeal to you to work conscientiously to take India to the forefront of nations,” Mr. Advani said.
Expressing happiness at the presence of a galaxy of political and religious leaders at the civic reception, Mr. Advani said this showed the wide acceptance that Mr. Rajagopal enjoyed in society. He recalled Mohammed Ali Jinnah’s call to his countrymen immediately after the Partition that they must now forget to which they religion they belonged and let Hindus practise Hinduism and Muslims Islam and everybody work together.
Delivering the keynote address, Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan said that although he and Mr. Rajagopal occupied diametrically opposed poles in politics, they retained a close friendship. The CPI(M) opposed Mr. Rajagopal’s party because, in its perception, the BJP stood against all that was part of secularism. However, the CPI(M) and the BJP had worked together for a brief period, in the fight against Emergency, and he and Mr. Rajagopal were in prison together during the period.
Gandhi Smarak Nidhi chairman P. Gopinathan Nair chaired the meeting which was addressed by, among others, Health Minister V.S. Sivakumar, CPI State secretary Pannian Ravindran, poet O.N.V. Kurup, Mayor K. Chandrika, BJP State president V. Muralidharan, Kerala Congress leader V. Surendran Pillai, Syro-Malankara Catholic Church Auxiliary Bishop Samuel Mar Irenius, Swami Tatvaroopananda, and NIMS Medicity managing director M.S. Faisal Khan.