Sundheendra Kulkarni Quits BJP On Ideological Grounds – Has Exodus Begun?

Bjp Problems Compounding – Jaswant Singh Meets Vajpayee

BJP is in deep turmoil and its cup of woe continues to overflow when it receives one snub after another from its leaders in the week before and after chintan baitak in Shimla.

Early in the day, Sudeheendra Kulkarni, a close aide of both Vajpayee and Advani quit the party on ideological grounds. Later in the day on Sunday, it was the turn of Jaswant Singh to rub the salt on the wounds of BJP by meeting Vajpayee at his residence purportedly to get his blessings and to covey his good wishes on Vinayaka Chaturti Day.

Sundhandeera Kulkarni was a vocal critic of the party during and after the elections. He opposed the hate speeches of Varun Gandhi and made no bones of the fact that BJP allies were drifting away after the Gujarat riots.

It may be remembered that Kulkarni had stepped down as an office-bearer in 2005 soon after the Advani-Jinnah controversy. After the election defeat in 2009, Kulkarni had written to the party that the “BJP and Sangh Parivar made a strong leader like Advani look weak, helpless and not fully in command”.

Speaking to NDTV, Sudhandeera Kulkarni said he informed Advaniji several weeks ago that he was contemplating an end his active association with the BJP. It was nothing to do with the controversy surrounding the ouster of Jaswant Singh, though he felt that the manner in which he was ousted was unfortunate, graceless and baseless, as there was nothing in the book that could prompt such an extreme action against him. He also felt in the present circumstances there is no point in continuing as he was unable to make any meaningful contribution to the party. But he would continue to be a well wisher.

On the question of whether he would approve the Advaniji suggestion of giving way to youngsters, he refused to be drawn into any controversy in the internal affairs of the party. But he was fortunate that he had the best time working closely with both Atalji and Advaniji and he still holds them in the highest esteem and reverence.

Whether his quitting the party at this juncture would in anyway affect the party’s fortune, especially after Jaswant’s episode and Raje’s case is hanging fire, Kulkarni said the party is strong enough to come out of the present crisis and would grow from strength to strength in the days to come.

On his future plans, Kulkarni made it very clear he would not associate himself with the BJP in future but would like to work with all like minded people belonging to various political parties who believe in certain ideals and policies. He has nothing more to add than what he has written in an article entitled, “Thinking Aloud” published in The Indian Express yesterday.

In the meantime, Jaswant Singh made a visit to Vajpayee at his home in New Delhi to wish him well, on the occasion of Vinayaka Chaturti Day and to get his blessings. Speaking to reporters outside his house, Jaswant Singh said he did not discuss anything relating to his ouster. But Vajpayee was aware of the developments as he was watching TV regularly. It was only a courtesy call as he used to call on him in the past regularly. There was nothing to read between the lines regarding his visit to Vajpayee’s residence, he said.

Political circles are abuz with rumours that the visit by Jaswant Singh to Vajpayee after his ouster was a clear snub to the party. The icing on the cake came with Sudheendra Kulkarni, a close associate of both Vajpayee and Advani quitting the party. Now everyone wonders, whether the exodus has begun or is it just a case of the proverbial “rats leaving the sinking ship?” Jai Hind.