Zee Media Bureau/Ritesh K Srivastava
Jodhpur/New Delhi: Upset over denial of Lok Sabha ticket, senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh on Monday filed his nomination papers from Barmer as an Independent, leaving the central leadership sulking over his decision.
"I am relieved. People will tell me whether I should win. I am contesting on principles, and not just my honour but the honour of people," he said after filing his papers.
Jaswant will now be fighting the elections against BJP candidate Colonel Sona Ram Choudhary who enjoys the backing of Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje.
Later, while addressing a rally in Barmer, Jaswant said Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and BJP president had betrayed him.
Jaswant said that BJP senior party leader LK Advani and Nitin Gadkari had requested him to join the party, but his family was against it.
The development has also brought to fore the growing dissent among the senior leaders, especially those close to party veteran LK Advani, who feel they are being being sidelined by the present leadership.
Reacting to the development, the BJP today said that no action will be taken against Singh as of now and the party will wait for him till the last date of withdrawal of nomination.
Singh had yesterday dared his party and said that he is "not a piece of furniture" to be "adjusted" after polls.
He has warned that the party will have to suffer the consequences of internal strife coming to the fore ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
Back channel efforts were also started to bring him around but the veteran leader showed no signs of relenting.
Training his guns on BJP president Rajnath Singh who said the 76-year-old leader`s services will be utilised appropriately, Jaswant Singh retorted, "I am not a piece of furniture. The choice of the adjective `adjust` itself is indicative of the mentality. You cannot adjust with principles and it is insulting".
Slamming the BJP president`s remarks that the party will compensate him after the elections, Singh said, "I reject the thought and I reject the mentality behind it. Assumption is that they shall form the government and offer me some throttle. They can keep it for themselves".
Jaswant Singh will, however, remain the member of BJP for now.
"Yes, I am filing my nomination papers Monday from Barmer. Independent or not, will depend on the party`s attitude," he had said yesterday when asked whether he would contest despite denial of a ticket from his home constituency.
In indications that that there will be no reversal of decision, party leader Arun Jaitley said when a senior leader is not accommodated for some reasons, that is when his discipline and political loyalty are to be tested.
"He must accept the decision with a smile. This becomes a test of his loyalty and discipline. Restraint and silence are always a preferred option. Over-reaction may prove be a transient storm in a tea cup. Silence is always dignified and more gracious," Jaitley said.
With PTI inputs