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Expulsion shows BJP is narrow-minded, says Jaswant

24 August, 2009

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ISLAMABAD: Jaswant Singh has said his expulsion from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) shows that the party is “narrow-minded”, and sticking to his contention that Muhammad Ali Jinnah was a “great man who has been demonised in India”.

“I didn’t think the party is so narrow-minded ... so nervous about Jinnah and [Vallabhai] Patel and to get so railed at what I have written. I have a feeling, which I voiced also, that perhaps my former colleagues had not really read the book when they passed the sentence,” Jaswant told Zeenews.

Asked whether he denigrated Patel in his book, Jaswant said, “I have simply pointed out facts of history. I haven’t denigrated any icon.” The former BJP leader said he would have felt better if the party had not used the word “expel” and told him of the decision in person. “I wish they had not used the word expel. They had better choice of phrases. It hurt me when no one personally came and conveyed the decision. Even Advani has not called me,” Singh said. Asked whether Advani had called him after the expulsion, Jaswant said, “No. But it doesn’t matter now ... it’s too late.” Jaswant said following his expulsion, BJP President Rajnath Singh had said “we will discuss the issue some other time, which never happened”.

Asked whether he thought the BJP took the decision to expel him only after party leaders read the book, he said, “No. I don’t believe that because that is not practical ... it’s quite a feat in speed reading if you have read 700 pages. I don’t believe my prose is a fiction. It is not easy and it requires attention. It would be a remarkable feat.” Separately, Jaswant met former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee for the first time after he was thrown out of the party, and “sought his blessings”.

“I keep meeting Vajpayee. I had come to wish him on Ganesh Chaturthi and seek his blessings,” Jaswant told reporters outside Vajpayee’s residence. Asked whether he discussed the issue of his expulsion, he said the former prime minister watched TV and was aware of the developments. “No further analysis is necessary,” he added.

End.

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