BJP president Rajnath Singh on Saturday night expelled party veteran Jaswant Singh, who is contesting the Lok Sabha election as an independent from Barmer in Rajasthan against the party nominee, after he refused to withdraw his candidature on the last day of withdrawal of nominations.
Jaswant Singh was expelled for six years, a party statement said. BJP general secretary J P Nadda communicated the decision to Rajasthan BJP chief Ashok Parnami late Saturday night.
The BJP also expelled former Union Minister Subhash Maharia for contesting as a rebel in Sikar against the party nominee.
Jaswant Singh is contesting as an independent against the BJP’s official candidate Sonaram Choudhary who had crossed over from the Congress recently.
The statement said action was taken against Singh, former External Affairs and Finance Minister, and Maharia as the BJP constitution does not allow partymen to contest as independents against its official candidates.
Denied nomination, Singh had attacked the party leadership. This is the second time in five years that Jaswant Singh has been expelled from the BJP. In 2009, he was shown the door after his book praised Pakistan founder Mohammed Ali Jinnah. But he was taken back into the party fold in June 2010.
The current rebellion came close on the heels of Advani’s reluctance to contest the Lok Sabha election from Gandhinagar. Advani’s move was seen as an attempt by the old guard to embarrass the party’s new leadership under Narendra Modi and Rajnath Singh. The top brass reached out to Advani and made him reconsider his position. In addition, tough posturing by the RSS too made Advani relent and he agreed to contest from Gandhinagar.