New Delhi, Aug 30 (Inditop.com) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is “imploding”, says Jaswant Singh who says that the party he was associated for 30 years is demonstrating “lack of confidence” with each passing day and has suddenly been “robbed of reasoning”. He also said he was “trapped” into going to Shimla for the leadership meeting that sacked him without explanation.
Maintaining he had no plans to join another political party for the moment, Jaswant Singh said the BJP was collapsing internally following the rapid sequence of events following his exit.
“Yes, it is imploding. Every additional day they display greater and greater lack of confidence. I don’t know what has suddenly robbed them of reasoning. It is a very sad demonstration of incapacity,” Jaswant Singh told Inditop in an exclusive interview at his sprawling 15, Teen Murti Lane residence.
“Is it a crisis of the party or leadership? The party should have been bursting with political health after expelling me and been in the pink of health. Why is it suffering more? It puts paid to the rationale then.”
Jaswant Singh, 71, who has served as ministers of finance, defence and external affairs in Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s governments, said he never expected to be dismissed from the BJP for authoring “Jinnah: India – Partition – Independence”.The Lok Sabha member from Darjeeling expressed disgust that the BJP threw him out summarily for writing a book that tried to historically evaluate Pakistan founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah vis-a-vis India’s partition.
“Did I apprehend it (expulsion)? No. Did I have any indication? No. I have said in the academy as a gentleman cadet (that) when you are found unsuitable, you are withdrawn. So I reject the word expelled. But that is what they chose to use,” said Jaswant Singh, who was an officer in the Indian Army and is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy, said of his expulsion from the party at its leadership meeting (called ‘chintan baithak’) in Shimla last week.
“It seemed as if my own party colleagues were almost laying a trap for me,” he told Inditop “Isn’t that humiliating beyond words? That a party which I served for 30 years and was one of its founding members should find it necessary to lay traps? This is dishonourable.”
Jaswant Singh insisted that Vajpayee was aware he was writing the book and never tried talking him out of it.
“Of course not… there is no question. When James Laine’s book on Shivaji was banned in Maharashtra by the Shiv Sena (government), Vajpayee’s response was that there should be a reply to the book. (He) did not recommend a ban.
“And before I left for Shimla (for the BJP meeting), I gave a copy of my book, both in Hindi and in English, to him (Vajpayee) as I had (given) to Advani.
“And, yes, Vajpayee is aware of what is happing in the party. But I did not discuss party matters or go there to tattle. I went to wish him well.”
Jaswant Singh, who has plans to visit Pakistan to promote his book, defends his decision to keep quiet on many unsavoury incidents that are now out in the public domain including the cash-for-vote sting operation that he claims was orchestrated by the BJP during the trust vote in July last year.
“A soldier disagrees, a soldier does not mutiny… unless the provocation is extreme. Mutiny is not part of psyche,” he replied, when asked why he did not go public earlier with the allegation. “Lots of people have told me that I am not really a politician and still imbued by the value systems of the soldier. I have not been able to become a politician that exploits a situation or backstabs.”
Jaswant Singh also held that the BJP’s challenge was to redefine itself if it has to attract youth and project a 21st century image.
“The BJP should not come across as a 19th century organisation raising obsolete issues. In politics, perceptions are just as important if not more important than reality. Ram Setu and Babri Masjid are non-issues for people now.”
He refused to hazard a guess who could possibly lead the BJP in the next general election. “I don’t know. It is for them to decide. I am outside the periphery of the BJP.”