Nine months after dismissal, Jaswant Singh to be back in BJP

Jaswant Singh has been asked to re-join the BJP, nine months after he was dismissed over his book praising Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

Updated: Jun 15, 2010, 23:28 PM IST

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: Veteran BJP leader and former union minister Jaswant Singh, 72, has reportedly been asked to re-join the party, nine months after he was dismissed for writing a book on Mohammed Ali Jinnah called "Jinnah- India, Partition, Independence".

Reports indicate that the top brass of the party have decided to declare his dismissal in August 2009 in a day or two.

Singh was unceremoniously expelled after the party’s chintan baithak in Shimla which was held after the BJP’s debacle in Lok Sabha elections in May. He had said that the decision was conveyed to him on the
phone by then party president Rajnath Singh.

BJP President Nitin Gadkari met Jaswant here last week
before leaving for the party national executive in Patna to
discuss his entry into the party. Jaswant is believed to have
expressed the wish that he would like to rejoin the party in
the presence of the top brass.

However, sources close to him had said there was still some ground to be covered before Singh was taken back.

Gadkari, who had announced that all those who had to
leave the party could come back provided they expressed regret
for their actions, is also open to the idea of Jaswant`s

BJP president will officially announce the decision of the party shortly in the parliamentary committee of the party.

This decision comes at a time when the Rajasthan unit of the party is in turmoil with many of its MLAs expressing displeasure over the party’s choice of candidates for Rajya Sabha polls. The party has reportedly kept all its MLAs ini a resort in Jaipur to avoid rebellion. The same has been denied by it though.

Singh had earned the ire of top BJP leadership by writing the book on Jinnah in which he praised the Pakistan founder as secular. It also sought to blame Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel for the
partition of the country.

He also criticised the party for taking action againsr him without reading his book. He also panned the election strategy of BJP and had said a lot was wrong with the party.

His book was promptly banned by Gujarat Chief Minister
Narendra Modi in his state. The acrimony between Jaswant and BJP only grew further
when he refused to step down as Chairperson of Parliamentary
Public Accounts Committee (PAC). Later, in December he
voluntarily resigned from the post, three months before his
term was to end.

However, there was a thaw in relations as time passed.
Sources said Advani was unhappy about Jaswant`s removal from
the party and the manner in which it was done. On his part,
Jaswant recently said BJP was in his blood.

When asked when Jaswant will join the BJP, party
general secretary Ananth Kumar said, "When a final decision is
taken our party president will present himself before the

Repeated attempts of to contact Jaswant Singh or Nitin Gadkari failed as both refused to comment on the issue.

Speculation about his re-entry into BJP have been rife
since he sent overtures to BJP Parliamentary Party Chief L K
Advani. Sources said the two have been in touch over phone and
have even met a few times in the last nine months.

The two had even travelled together in a chartered
plane to Jaipur to attend the funeral of former vice-president
Bhairon Singh Shekhawat.

Jaswant, a founder member of the 30-year-old party, had
served the BJP-led NDA government as External Affairs Minister
and Finance Minister.

As External Affairs Minister he had accompanied the
three terrorists to Kandahar for the release of hijacked
passengers of IC-814 in December, 1999.

-PTI inputs