Jaswant`s Jinnah book a closed chapter: Gadkari

BJP President Nitin Gadkari has termed as "closed" the issue of Jaswant Singh`s book praising Pakistan founder M A Jinnah and said return of leaders like him will strengthen the party.

Updated: Jul 04, 2010, 23:16 PM IST

New Delhi: BJP President Nitin Gadkari has
termed as "closed" the issue of Jaswant Singh`s book praising
Pakistan founder M A Jinnah and said return of leaders like
him will strengthen the party.

"To add people to the party is going to strengthen it...
It is a good thing for the party," Gadkari said when asked
about return of leaders like Jaswant Singh and Ram Jethmalani
to BJP.

On the former defence minister not apologising for
writing the book praising Jinnah which had led to his
expulsion ten months ago, Gadkari said, "These are old issues.
The issue is closed. Apart from the views, he is loyal to the

"As a person, Jaswant Singh is a good man. He is a senior
and experienced leader. At the time of foundation of the
party, he was there. I respect him. Apart from his book, he is
loyal to the party," Gadkari said in an interview to a private news channel.

Gadkari maintained that in a democratic party, every
leader has the right to have different opinions.

"A big political party is a group of big political
leaders. Everyone has some independent and different opinions.
It never happens that 100 per cent opinions are same.

"There may be some opinions that Jaswant Singh may have
which I may not agree with. But, in the larger interest as far
as BJP is concerned, I feel he is loyal to the party, is a
very respectable leader, that is why I approached him," he

He claimed eminent lawyer Jethmalani, who recently won a
Rajya Sabha seat from Rajasthan as a BJP candidate, had
apologised for certain remarks made by him against former
prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee before he was taken back.

"He cleared the things....before coming to BJP he cleared
the things that those comments (against Vajpayee) were not
good. That he is sorry for it," Gadkari said.

The party president said the chapter is closed and BJP as
well as Vajpayee`s family were satisfied with Jethmalani`s

On recent crisis with JD(U) and the bitter clash between
the coalition partners ahead of Assembly elections, Gadkari
claimed the issue was not a creation of his party.

Asked if Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi will
campaign in Bihar in the wake of opposition by certain JD(U)
leaders, he said it was up to his party to decide who would
canvas for its candidates in the polls.

"...I want to tell you one thing very clearly: In my
party the candidates, where they are contesting, which all
leaders will be campaigning for them will be decided by the
Bharatiya Janata Party.

"It will not be decided by other parties or other
leaders. It is our right, our privilege to decide who will be
the leader to campaign for our party candidate," Gadkari said.

However, he maintained the issue was a closed chapter.

Last month, JD(U) leader and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish
Kumar had snubbed the BJP by cancelling a dinner for its top
leadership after advertisements were published in local
dailies showing Modi and Kumar holding hands. He had also
returned Rs five crore being the unspent money of the aid
given to Bihar by Gujarat government in 2008, at the time of
Kosi floods.

Later, both the parties said the issue was resolved and
that they would contest the polls in alliance.

The BJP president, who completed six months in office,
also claimed that he had solved crisis in party`s Rajasthan

On Jharkhand, where BJP failed to form a government with
JMM support, Gadkari said, "We were expecting cooperation from
Shibu Soren. He had committed to the party in writing. (But)
at the time of change of roles, he was talking something
different, (so) we took a decision that we don`t want
government in Jharkhand and we close the chapter."

"In the long term, the situation in Jharkhand will be
beneficial for us," he claimed.