In a candid admission, senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader L K Advani acknowledged on Sunday that organisational disputes did exist in the party and regretted that they came out in the open.
He told a party workers's meeting that restraint was required against bringing organisational feuds into public view.
"We are like a family. If there is some quarrel in a family and outsiders come to know about it, then that family wonders how it happened. But what about us," he asked.
Advani's comments echoed BJP chief Rajnath Singh's remarks to the party national executive in Lucknow last month that those not authorised to speak to the media should restrain themselves from public comments, especially on internal issues.
"Our quarrels come out in the open," the former deputy prime minister remarked as he cautioned ticket aspirants for Delhi municipal elections not to speak against the organisation if their candidacies are rejected.
Advani also spoke about the need in the party for hard work as the it faces key electoral battles ahead.
"We have already struggled and reached this position, but now the need is to work hard," he said.
Strongly defending former party MP Navjot Singh Sidhu, who quit the Lok Sabha following his conviction, Advani referred to his offence as a 'slight quarrel'. "It was unprecendented that a cabinet minister (Shibu Soren) was convicted and jailed, but remained an MP unlike ours (Sidhu) who quit over (conviction for) slight quarrel," Advani, who did not name the former cricketer, said.
Apparently stung by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi's remarks on Gujarat during her visit there, Advani insisted that the state had boosted his party's prestige because of its development programmes.
He portrayed Gujarat as a 'model state' in the country in terms of its development under BJP rule.
Advani also slammed the ruling United Progressive Alliance for its moves to scrap the IMDT Act, citing the Supreme Court's observations that the CBI was not proceeding in the right direction over the nationality of Congress MP Mani Kumar Subba, who is suspected to be a Nepali.
Besides, the BJP leader, who recently expressed the hope that something positive would come out from talks with Pakistan, again voiced fears that there could be a 'compromise' on Jammu and Kashmir.
Advani, who had hailed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's invitation to the BJP's top brass to discuss Pakistan as a 'good gesture' early this month, flayed him for his response in December to Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's four-point formula on Kashmir - "I was surprised when the prime minister welcomed that formula. It aimed at independence for Kashmir."
He alleged the country had been reduced to a soft state under the UPA rule as he cited moves to hold talks with different insurgent groups.