August 19, 2009

Two days after Jinnah book, Jaswant expelled from BJP

INTELLIBRIEFS strongly condemns this harsh and immature decision of BJP to expel Mr.Jashwant Singh. This act further corroborates the point that BJP is still a hostage of radical Hindutva forces, such indifference and callousness to freedom of opinion and reason is pathetic to say the least.

Shimla, Aug 19 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) expelled its veteran leader Jaswant Singh from the primary leadership of the party Wednesday, two days after the release of his controversial book in praise of Pakistan's founder Mohammed Ali Jinnah.

The decision to expel the 71-year-old leader, who has held the portfolios of finance, defence and external affairs in BJP-led governments, was taken by the party's parliamentary board, said BJP president Rajnath Singh.

He has also been stripped of all party posts.

'He is now not a member of any forum of the party. I tried to inform him yesterday on the phone but he had left for Shimla,' the BJP chief said about the leader who arrived in Shimla Tuesday afternoon for the three-day 'chintan baithak' (introspection session) of the party.

Jaswant Singh, he added, had been informed in the morning that he should not attend the chintan baithak that took the decision to expel him during its first sitting at the historic Peterhoff complex.

On Tuesday, Rajnath Singh said the BJP had dissociated itself from the Jaswant Singh's views on Jinnah.

'Yesterday, I issued a statement about the BJP dissociating itself from Jaswant Singh's views. The party discussed the matter at the chintan baithak and it was decided to expel him.

'I put up the issue before the parliamentary board today, which decided to cancel his primary membership and he has been expelled from the party,' the BJP chief said.

Reacting to the expulsion, columnist and BJP ideologue Swapan Dasgupta said: 'For the crime of writing a book or that matter taking a non conventional view (on Jinnah) you can't expel a person. What has happened is alarming.'

The former union minister, who has earned the ire of party leaders for his book 'Jinnah: India, Partition, Independence', arrived Tuesday but remained closeted in his room at the five-star Hotel Cecil, just a few hundred metres from the venue of the BJP meeting.

While all party leaders, including L.K. Advani, Rajnath Singh and Sushma Swaraj, were at the state guest house Peterhoff, Jaswant Singh cocooned himself in his hotel and did not meet any of the leaders.

He also did not attend a dinner Tuesday evening hosted by leader of the opposition L.K. Advani for BJP leaders, including chief ministers of various BJP-ruled states.

Eulogising Jinnah in his book, Jaswant Singh has said Jinnah was 'demonised' by India, while it was actually India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru whose belief in a centralised polity had led to the partition of the subcontinent.

Jaswant Singh has also strongly contested the popular Indian view that Jinnah was the villain of the 1947 partition or the man principally responsible for it.

'I think we have misunderstood him because we needed to create a demon... We needed a demon because in the 20th century the most telling event in the subcontinent was the partition of the country,' he has said.

Indo Asian News Service

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