Jaswant Singh compares BJP to Ku Klux Klan

Last Updated: Wednesday, August 26, 2009 - 18:27

New Delhi: Jaswant Singh on Wednesday took his
attack on BJP a step further by likening it to the violent
white American group Ku Klux Klan (KKK) and suggested that L K
Advani was surrounded by a coterie.

Why had he been unceremoniously expelled from the
party a week ago, the former External Affairs Minister was
asked.

"Please don`t ask me. I am outside the magic circle of
advisers or thinkers. Because, I am not from the RSS, is that
why? So are we a political party? Is the BJP becoming some
kind of an Indian version of Ku Klux Klan?" he shot back
during an interview to agency here.
KKK, widely known as The Klan, is the name of several
past and present hate group organisations in the US, whose aim
was to protect and further the rights of white Americans by
intimidation.

Asked what he meant by reference to KKK, he said, "You
know what the Klan means. You don`t ask me about this."

Expressing reluctance to analyse why Advani was
rejected by the people for the post of Prime Minister, Singh
nevertheless said it was for the BJP veteran to reflect on
this.

"It would be impertinent and perhaps, to a degree
also, I would be commenting on my past 30 years with him if I
commented on his characteristics, political or personal," he
said.

Asked if Advani was surrounded by a coterie, Singh
countered, "Does he run a coterie or does the coterie run
him."

Singh, who did not share a warm relationship with the
Sangh, said the BJP should reflect on its relationship with
the RSS and be "mature enough to cut the umbilical cord".

"It is for the BJP to reflect on it. I feel for them
to gain their full personality as a political organisation,
they have to stand on their own feet. Now they should be
mature enough to cut the umbilical cord," he said.

He did not agree with BJP leader Arun Shourie`s
suggestion that RSS should take over the party saying it will
not work.

"I would like the BJP to reflect on what has
happened and try to be a party of the 21st century. They (RSS)
are exclusivist. Besides, they are an organisation committed
to social work," he said.

Asked why the BJP expelled him summarily for his
writings in his book on Jinnah, Singh said he was still not
able to establish the reasons and accused the party of
adopting "double standards" when Advani also did "exactly the
same" in 2005.
Singh said, "I am still not able to establish the whys
and wherefores of it. What wrong have I done in writing about
a historical personality of India about whom Arun Shourie has
cited the late RSS leader Seshadri and yesterday the former
RSS Chief K S Sudarshan also said something similar.

"Then which core values, supposed core values, have I
dented. Is writing about our own history an assault on core
values. I don`t want to cite that L K Advani had done exactly
the same. So when all this began to fall flat, I was told that
I have violated something sacrosanct about Sardar Patel."

Singh asked what had he violated or destroyed because
Sardar Patel and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru were the two
principal Congress leaders who agreed to the Partition of
India. "That is a historical fact. So I still don`t know."

To a question on a long rope being extended to
Vasundhara Raje in Rajasthan and Shourie merely being asked
for clarification, he said, "I am sorry. I cannot comment on
it. I was told don`t come to the meeting. Of course. Good luck
to Raje. But there are obviously double standards. Advani says
the same thing in 2005."

Asked if his expulsion was a message to other
dissidents in the party, he shot back "Am I a dissident. I am
sorry. Your question suggests I am some kind of a dissident. I
feel I am one of the original founding members of the party.

"Who felt that I had raised queries or questions. And
is questioning or wondering or enquiring about the functioning
of the party dissidence? So are we moving into an era of
thought control?" he said.

Asked what was the way forward for the BJP, the
former minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee cabinet, Singh
said, "Do ask them what they intend doing. I see the party
daily demonstrating some kind of typical political implosion."

To a question as to what made Vajpayee a great leader,
Singh said it was the dimensions of his personal and political
ideas and personality.
"He was tolerant, inclusive, accommodative. He
absorbed dissidence. He had a very acute understanding of the
inner dynamics of the party as indeed of the impulse that
keeps India moving," he said.

To a query whether BJP missed a leader like Vajpayee,
he said, "Again, why don`t you ask BJP? It is a difference.
The party was led differently during Vajpayee`s time. Now it
is led differently. I don`t have to comment. Events themselves
are a great comment."

Asked whether he would be a rallying point if
there is a split in the BJP, he said, it was entirely an
hypothetical question. "I wish the BJP well. A s far as the
BJP, let the party chart its own course."

To a question if the BJP could be revived like the
"New Labour" in England, he said, "Free me, free me, I am out
of that."

Singh said "without doubt" the BJP was in a crisis of
leadership which was not current but has been building up over
a period of time.

"It is a crisis of character essentially and it is
only from character that leadership of probity and
accountability in public life, of integrity, of thought and
conduct can arise," he said.

He said the decline of BJP started because of the
"great poison--the lure of office."

Asked about the chances of reconciliation with BJP,
Singh said, "Reconciliation to what? Reconciliation to an
insult?"

He ruled out joining the Samajwadi Party, which has
invited him to join it. "I am happy to be an independent."

He said he was an independent member of the Parliament
now representing Darjeeling constituency and Gorkha Janmukhti
Morcha (GJM) has reaffirmed its total faith in him.
"I will serve the cause of GJM and the Gorkha land.
That is my karma bhoomi and my janam bhoomi is the desert. I
shall serve them," he said.

He also ruled out stepping down as Chairman of the
prestigious Parliamentary Accounts Committee following his
expulsion from the BJP.

Singh said he had consulted the Secretary General of
the Lok Sabha, who said that rules did not require him to step
down. The Committee is mini-Parliament and it was the
prerogative of the Speaker to remove him on certain grounds
which do not apply to him, he said.

When told he had become Chairman because BJP nominated
him to it, he said, "BJP nominated me only to contest the
elections."

Bureau Report



First Published: Wednesday, August 26, 2009 - 18:27

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