Shimla: "Expel Jaswant Singh from primary membership of the party". With these words, LK Advani sealed the fate of the veteran Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader as the party's parliamentary board sat on Wednesday ahead of the 'chintan baithak' to decide on his alleged ideological transgressions.
When some party leaders wondered aloud at the closed-door session if it was indeed the right course of action to take against someone who had been with the party since its inception and if the decision would not haunt him later ("Aap pe to yeh chipkega"), Advani said with finality that he was not worried, according to a party leader present at the fateful meeting.
This was in spite of the fact that the two leaders were known to be close and Jaswant Singh always had high personal regard for Advani, addressed him always by his first name "Lalji" and supported his prime ministerial bid before the elections.
The two seem to have had a fallout after Jaswant Singh joined Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie in seeking an internal debate to find out reasons for the poll debacle, fix responsibility and chart out the party's future ideological direction.
Earlier, the BJP in its 'chintan baithak' (introspection meeting) today expelled senior leader Jaswant Singh from the party for praising Pakistan founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah in his new book, "Jinnah - India, Partition, Independence".
BJP president Rajnath Singh told reporters here that the party's parliamentary board decided to expel the former external affairs minister from the primary membership of the party.
"I had issued a statement yesterday that the party fully dissociates itself from the contents of the book. Today I put up the matter before the parliamentary board which decided to end his primary membership,” Rajnath said.
"So he has been expelled. From now onwards he will not be a member of any body of the party or be an office bearer," he stated further on the expulsion of the 71-year-old party veteran.
Rajnath said he had yesterday told Jaswant Singh not to come to Shimla for participating in the 'chintan baithak'.
Rajnath added that since Jaswant Singh had already left for Shimla, he called him up today again asking him not to attend the opening session of the three-day meeting, which began here today.
Remarks against Patel led to Jaswant's expulsion: BJP
In an apparent attempt to
shield senior party leader L K Advani who had earlier praised
M A Jinnah, BJP today said Jaswant Singh was expelled not for
his views on Pakistan founder but for his "uncharitable"
comments against Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
BJP spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad said "there is a
difference" between Advani's and Jaswant's views on Patel. "It
is well-known that Advani holds Sardar Patel as an iconic
figure," he said.
Prasad said Advani had been "misunderstood" on his
comments on Jinnah in 2005. "Advani had quoted Jinnah during
his official visit to Pakistan in 2005 and said that the laws
for Hindus and Muslims in Pakistan would be the same".
First Published: Thursday, August 20, 2009, 00:03