NATIONAL POLITICS: Jaswant Singh back in BJP, Gadkari says ‘past is past’ – the opposition ‘Conscience’ returns ?!!
FROM TIMES OF INDIA
NEW DELHI, Jun 24, 2010, 04.53pm IST (TNN & AGENCIES): Expelled BJP leader Jaswant Singh today rejoined the party nine months after he was summarily thrown out for writing a controversial book on Pakistan founder Mohammed Ali Jinnah.
At a function organised to announce his re-induction into the party fold, 72-year-old Singh profusely thanked senior BJP leader L K Advani for taking the initiative to bring him back to the BJP of which he was a founder member.
“It is good to be back in familiar surroundings… I wish to unreservedly express my gratitude to Advaniji who took the initiative,” Singh said. Among others present were party President Nitin Gadkari and Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj.
Recalling his expulsion from the party at its ‘Chintan Baithak’ in Shimla in August last year, the MP from Darjeeling said, “I was hurt and humiliated by what I had encountered.”
Advani said he was “very happy” that Jaswant Singh, whom he had met as an RSS pracharak in Rajasthan, has rejoined the party.
“I am very happy. With happiness there is also a sense of relief. I welcome him,” he said.
Gadkari said the “past is past” and hoped that Singh will work to make the party’s future bright.
He said this was a day of “great happiness” for him and the party workers.
Singh was expelled from the BJP in August 2009 for praising the Pakistan founder in his book “Jinnah – India,
While holding Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel responsible for partition, Singh maintained that Jinnah was secular, a position that was unacceptable to the Sangh Parivar. Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi had banned Singh’s book in his state.
After his expulsion, BJP also asked Singh to step down from the Chairmanship of Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee but he refused. He gave up the post in December last year.
Jaswant returns to BJP, tells NDTV he won’t disown comments on Jinnah – comments of ‘praise or criticism’ mere quotes of real historical personages… all quick to jump the gun ?!!
New Delhi, June 24, 2010 18:18 IST: It’s official. Ten months after he was expelled by the BJP for complimenting Muhammad Ali Jinnah in his book, Jaswant Singh has been welcomed back to the mother ship.
“It’s a day of great happiness for all of us,” said party president, Nitin Gadkari, flanked by Jaswant Singh and senior leader LK Advani. “I look forward to his attendance at every party meeting,” Gadkari added.
“With happiness, there is a sense of relief,” said Advani.
Speaking exclusively to NDTV’s Barkha Dutt about his return to the BJP fold, Singh stressed that “I cannot disown the book on Jinnah… historical facts about Jinnah can’t be wished away just because we disagree.”
He also said that the Kandahar controversy, which pitted him against Advani on a gigantic issue of national security, was “a closed chapter.”
Describing what brought him back to his party, he said, “I express my great gratitude to Advani who took the initiative some months back. He telephoned me and asked if I would speak to him… I was humbled by that… then he asked if I would meet with him…he said we would treat this chapter as closed.”
Recalling his expulsion from the party at its ‘Chintan Baithak’ in Shimla in August last year, Singh, who has served in the past as India’s External Affairs Minister and is currently the MP from Darjeeling, said, “My hurt and humiliation has been addressed by Advani.”
The relationship between Singh and Advani entered its darkest chapter in August last year. Two days after his expulsion, in an interview to NDTV’s Barkha Dutt, Singh said that Advani had misstated his role in the Kandahar crisis in 1999.
Singh reconstructed the events that led to India swapping three Pakistani terrorists for 160 hostages on an Indian Airlines flight n 1999. IC-814 was hijacked on its way from Kathmandu to Delhi. At that time, Advani was India’s Home Minister and Singh was the External Affairs Minister. Advani had always maintained that he was not aware that Singh had been authorized to fly to Kandahar to release the terrorists. Challenging that view, Singh said to NDTV, “How can they (terrorists) be released from prison without the Home Minister consenting and signing pieces of paper,” Singh said to NDTV.
When asked why Singh had not contradicted Advani earlier, he said, “I covered for him as a colleague”.
Jaswant Singh was backed in the next few days by Brajesh Mishra and Yashwant Singh. All three men were present, along with Advani, at the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security in December 1999. Mishra, who was then the National Security Advisor, says the decision to send Jaswant Singh to Kandahar was unanimous.
Jaswant Singh rejoins BJP – an unexpected boost for the Gorkha Cause ?!!
From The Hindu
New Delhi, June 24, 2010 (PTI): Expelled Bharatiya Janata Party leader Jaswant Singh rejoined the party in the presence of senior party leaders, including L.K. Advani and party chief Nitin Gadkari on Thursday.
Mr. Jaswant Singh’s reinduction into the party fold comes 10 months after he was expelled from the BJP over his book on Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah in August last year.
Mr. Jaswant Singh represents Darjeeling in West Bengal in the Lok Sabha.
A FEW DAYS AGO
BJP needs to be more clear on “Hindutva” definition, says Jaswant Singh – any academic papers on the subject or need for our inner ‘Conscience Check’ ?!!
New Delhi, June 11 (ANI): Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader and former Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Jaswant Singh, on Thursday said his party lacked clarity on what Hindutva meant and stood for.
Jaswant Singh, in an interview to NDTV, spoke on a variety of issues that either have become or fast becoming major concerns for the party.
On a question whether it’s true that there’s an ideological confusion within the BJP, Jaswant said the party actual needs to be a party of present time and develop more clarity on the “Hindutva”.
“I don’t know if it’s confusion. But there is a need for ideological distillation of thought. The BJP has to be a current party. It can’t be a party of yesterday. I think there’s lack of clarity on what Hindutva means and what it stands for. During the late Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhya’s time the word Hindutva didn’t feature anywhere; its emergence in the lexicon of current Indian politics is of a later vintage. We have to reflect on what we are trying to address ourselves to. It comes back to the issue that the party must be current, that it addresses [the] today as well as the tomorrow and doesn’t continue to be living in [the] yesterday.”
“The BJP is not a representative of Hindutva. It only advocates an identity based on Hindu thought and Hindu social ethos,” Singh clarified.
Over BJP’s performance and derived message from Lok Sabha elections, Jaswant said: “We have to recognise that this is the second election we have lost. In 2004, we lost when everybody said we were winning. That came as a shock. This time, we expected good results that didn’t come. It’s a bigger shock…but we are still the second largest party in parliament. We have still got 116 MPs and then there are huge gaps in the patterns of the seat representations. Some of the states where we expected to do better, we didn’t live up to them.”
When asked if he agrees that people perceived the BJP was living in yesterday? Jaswant said: “Perhaps people didn’t perceive it but we didn’t succeed effectively in conveying what we’re trying to do. The failure in conveying a message on what we stand for and ended up with, diminished electoral support.”
On bringing up Narendra Modi’s name midway through the campaign causing too much confusion, Jaswant said: “No, I don’t agree. There was no confusion and even now there isn’t any. Advani was projected as leader by the party knowingly, deliberately, determinedly as PM candidate.”
When asked several BJP leaders endorsed Modi’s name as future PM, Jaswant said: “That wasn’t really necessary talking about the future as we haven’t addressed the present.” To a question about his view of extreme elements within the Sangh Parivar (like Vishwa Hindu Parishad) at times interfering with attempts to be a modern party, Jaswant said: “It is possible that extreme elements have dented this particular aspect. The BJP will have to address this aspect and will have to address this.”
On growing factionalism in BJP, Jaswant said: “Factionalism is a problem of Indian democracy; you can’t only charge the BJP. I know for a fact since I’ve been with the BJP since its origin. First political party I joined was the Janata Party. When it comes to evolution of BJP, factionalism has afflicted us. When we have had no expectations of office, then there was no factionalism. Factionalism is an ailment that afflicts all political parties, whether Communist, Congress or BJP…the minute the taste of office is on your tongue. You can’t blame the political party; the lure of office is a divider.”
Asked in the wake of rumours that Advani would step down as the Leader of Opposition in Parliament by the year-end, does the party need major overhaul, Jaswant said: “Does the Party needs to look at itself? Yes! Does the party need to replace Advani? No! The party must evolve into a succession, not arrive at succession because of an event. The event is a loss of an election…therefore you must change the leader? I don’t believe so.” (ANI)