Shimla: Veteran leader Jaswant Singh held that the deepest cut at being expelled from BJP after having served the party since its inception, 30 years ago, was over a mere book with senior leaders LK Advani and Rajnath Singh not even having the courtesy of conveying the expulsion decision in person.
Speaking to the media after party president announced the parliamentary board meeting decision to expel him, Jaswant Singh said, â€œI received a telephone call from Rajnath Singh at about 1 p.m. letting me know that I had been expelled from the party.â€
He said that he regretted the party decision to do so and was saddened by it. â€œBut I would have preferred if senior leaders LK Advani and Rajnath Singh had had the courtesy of informing the decision personally rather than over the phone.â€
â€œ”I received a call this morning from the president of the BJP that I should absent myself from the meeting, because he said tempers were running high or words to that effect.Â I told him that I will go back to Delhi, but he said ‘don’t go back I will call you'” he added.
What worries me most is that I have been expelled merely for writing a book. The day, the countryâ€™s leadership starts questioning thought, stops reading, writing or publishing, we are entering a dark alley.
From being labelled a BJPâ€™s Hanuman in a cartoon to being treated as Ravana and being sacked from the party, says it all, said Jaswant, as the reality around was sinking in.
On being asked whether he regretted writing the book, the defiant leader shot back, â€œregret writing a book. It is the fruit of five years of labour and Iâ€™m clear in my conscience that I have committed no sin, none whatsoever, against India.â€
He said â€œone could dispute the contents but it was my take on a painful chapter in India history that still bleeds.â€
â€œIn 1916 Jinnah at the Lucknow Pact, Jinnah was the ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity and in 1946 he had turned into the Qiad-eh-Azam of Pakistanâ€, said Singh.
It was understandable about congress being critical of the book, but for BJP to do so, was not, he added.
“It was in 1967 that I quit the Indian army, â€˜am not a pensioner, only desire was to serve the country,â€ said Jaswant, holding back the pain as he tried to present a brave front.
Refusing to call it a day, he said, he would not appeal against the party’s decision or go back to the party which has treated him so.
“My public life as a political leader is not over yet,” said Jaswant. ”
“I will have to talk to my Darjeeling electorate about my future course of action,” said the MP who was elected from West Bengal for the first time.
Photo By: Amit Kanwar.