Advani Denies Role in Jaswant Singh Expulsion

Jaswant Was Wronged By The Party Feel The Party Senior Leaders.

Public memory is short and any event however great it may be would not last for more than three days as other events divert the attention of the people. Similarly, the euphoria or controversy associated with the expulsion of Jaswant Singh, was soon forgotten but for raking up of it by one leader or another. It was Advani who again dwelt on the subject of Jaswant’s expulsion as if to clear the air of suspicion, which was long forgotten. Where was the necessity or urgency for Advani to come out with such a statement that he was not a party to the expulsion, when things since settled once and for all?

It appears that Jaswant Singh’s expulsion from BJP is still haunting the party. The issue of high handedness refused to die down, even though Jaswant rubbishes all rumours of his return to the party. The Red faced BJP, unable to hide the discomfiture caused by the untimely and arbitrary manner in which Jaswant Singh, one of the founder members of the party was expelled for writing a book, found its leaders one after another coming out in support of him.

What was bizarre about his expulsion was none of the party’s executive members had read the book to form an opinion that Jaswant was guilty of riding against the party ideology, within two days of its release. By doing this, the BJP on its own became a laughing stock.

It was all along thought that Advani was part of the unanimous decision in Shimla to expel him from the BJP. But now Advani has come out with a clarification to further embarrass the party.

It may be recalled that Party spokesperson and Senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj, while briefing reporters on the deliberations of BJP’s Chintan Baithak (brainstorming session) in Shimla, had said on August 21 that Advani had described the decision to expel Jaswant as “painful but necessary”. But on Monday, Advani said something different.

“These reports are correct that I was not in agreement with the decision to expel Jaswant Singh,” he told news agency PTI about the decision of the party’s Parliamentary Board on August 19 in Shimla where he was present. He, however, refused to lengthen the controversy. This statement is sure to rattle and further embarrass the party, which is already facing flak for not handling the internal crisis.

Now it is the turn of senior party leaders to queue up to condemn the expulsion of Jaswant Singh. The most recent being Bhairo Singh Shekawat and Menaka Gandhi.

Shekawat, Senior BJP leader and former Vice-President not only reprimanded the party for asking Jaswant Singh to resign from the chairmanship of PAC but also heaped praise on him for writing such a wonderful book on Jinnah. “The way Jaswant was treated was not good. After reading his book, there is a need to praise him. If Jaswant Singh’s book is read carefully (one would find that) it is worth praising,” Shekhawat told reporters soon after his meeting with Jaswant.

Recalling his association with Jaswant since 1966, Shekawat said that people feel that Jaswant should be with the party and he was with the people. Shekawat was also not happy with growing indiscipline in the party and he was pained at the leadership tussle following the party’s debacle in the recent Lok Sabha poll. He asserted that lack of mutual trust between party leaders was the sole reason for the growing fissures in the party. He asked the party to respect parliamentary conventions before asking for Jaswant to resign from the chairmanship of PAC.

Joining Shekawat in condemning Jaswant’s expulsion was another Senior party leader Menaka Gandhi. She opposed the expulsion of Jaswant Singh for writing a book on Jinnah. “BJP leaders should have read the book on Jinnah written by Jaswant Singh before taking any decision,” she said. Yet another source of embarrassment to the party.

Menaka’s statement is particularly worthy of consideration as it gained importance in view of several senior leaders joining her in support of Jaswant Singh. She said Jaswant was a nice person and he should have been given an opportunity before expelling him from the party.

Jaswant Singh is on the offensive against the party which expelled him unceremoniously. He already caused so much embarrassment by praising Jinnah in his book and holding both Nehru and Patel responsible for the partition of the country. He also likened the party to America’s right extremist violent group called Ku Klux Klan (KKK) and suggested that LK Advani was surrounded by a coterie.

Editor’s Note: The KKK was originally created in 1866, by white conservative democrats, not republicans.

Jaswant also refused to oblige the BJP by quitting the post of Chairman of PAC. He said it is the prerogative of the Speaker of Lok Sabha and not the BJP. He also discounted all rumours of his rejoining BJP or joining SP, from where he was getting strong feelers. He said he would not join any party.

Jaswant got a shot in the arm when Gujarat High Court set aside the ban on his book on Jinnah imposed by the Modi government. He is awaiting further rulings from the Supreme Court.

In the meantime, his book was a complete sell out throughout the country. Its not because of the contents of the Book but for the controversy it generated. It raised peoples’ interest and thus the publishers have to go to additional printings to cope with public demand.

BJP like Congress is facing a test of its strength in Maharashtra and Haryana where elections are due within a month. Such controversies would do more damage to the prospects of the party, which is riding high on its success in the recently concluded by-polls in some states, where it fared well. A few wins in Gujarat and Delhi would not help the party as it has lost much ground to the resurgent Lalu-Paswan combine in Bihar, where bewildered Nitish is still licking its wounds. BJP has to come out of its problems and put up a good show in such high voltage elections in Maharashtra and Haryana.

In the meantime, Congress, badly shaken from the reverses it suffered in the recent bypolls, is all set to leave it behind and put up a good show in Maharashtra in company with NCP against a formidable BJP-Shiv Sena front. In Haryana too Congress is strong and all set to win on its own particularly after BJP has parted company with Chautala. Jai Hind.

A.M. Jamsheed Basha
A.M. Jamsheed Basha is a Chennai-based columnist, political commentator, who writes on matters of importance, political, social and self-improvement.