Echo of Emergency in BJP’s decision-making: Jaswant Singh

Jaswant Singh said the BJP’s decision-making process was similar to the arrogance of the Emergency era.

Barmer | Updated: March 25, 2014 8:26 am

The BJP’s bitter veteran Jaswant Singh filed his nomination as an independent candidate from his home turf of Barmer on Monday as he accused top leaders of the party of backstabbing him and said the BJP’s decision-making process was similar to the arrogance of the Emergency era.

Although he did not openly attack the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, he took a dig at what he said was the “Namo, Namo chants” in the party.

“I was recently told about these Namo Namo chants.These chants are for gods and not for humans. they diminish god by venerating an individual. The Namo-Namo tamasha, the decision-making process in the party, reminds of 1975. There is more arrogance and less of taking everyone together. It is reminiscent of the Emergency era,” Jaswant told reporters.

Targeting Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and BJP chief Rajnath Singh, Jaswant claimed he had helped the two rise in prominence but they had now turned against him. “There is nothing like a favour in politics,” Jaswant said.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee, L K Advani and I were travelling together. Advani had asked me who would be a suitable candidate for the chief minister’s position in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. For UP, I had suggested Uma Bharti and for Rajasthan I recommended Vasundhara Raje.

“Raje would spend endless evenings at my place strategising and making plans for the future. Even for Rajnath Singh, I had backed him for the party president’s post. Today these people have back-stabbed me,” Singh told a massive rally in Barmer.

He recounted how Vajpayee had invited him to become the first general secretary of the party and of the formative years of the BJP and its ideology. He called the decision to ignore his request to be given a ticket from his home turf despite strong backing from the local cadre as “dictatorial”.

He said the ticket being denied was not a personal insult to him but the humiliation of the electorate of Barmer and Jaisalmer. He said over a year ago he had approached Advani seeking a ticket from his home turf since he wanted to bow out from active politics by serving his home constituency.

He said he had accepted the party’s decision to field him from Darjeeling in 2009 and became the only BJP candidate to win from West Bengal and expected the party to respect his last wish.

Jaswant did not directly attack BJP candidate Col Sonaram, but his supporters – BJP councillors and senior party workers – told the crowd it was unthinkable for them to seek votes for someone such as Sonaram who had fought six elections against the BJP and against whom they have campaigned for years.

“It is a matter of great disappointment that the state and central leadership ignored my request and have chosen one Col Sonaram as the BJP’s candidate. This is unacceptable. Not for any personal reasons but for the fact that Col Sonaram has been a member of the Congress party till now. He has now chosen to leave the Congress party after the recent elections to state Assembly which he contested and lost as a Congress candidate..I am aggrieved not by the person chosen, which the party has every right to do, but at the manner of surrendering and without even the courtesy of a consultation on the subject with me,” Jaswant said in a statement issued Monday.

He said he was addressing his anguish to Rajnath Singh a second time as Rajnath was the party president when Jaswant was expelled from the party in 2009 as well. “Then too I was unceremoniously expelled from the party, over a phone call,” he said. “My book on Jinnah stated historical facts.”

“I have no ill-will against anyone in the party from which I now part. I am constrained, however, to observe that I no longer find the BJP as the party I had chosen to join at its inception in 1980. There have been some glorious years of working together, 33 years of strife, struggle, success and also the absence of it,” he added. “Good luck to all as we part.”

Jaswant said that after Pranab Mukherjee, he was the only senior Indian leader to have held portfolios such as defence, external affairs and finance and could have “helped the party”.

Although Jaswant filed his nomination as an independent, he is yet to officially quit the BJP. He was accompanied by brother Nahar Singh, wife Sheetal and a large gathering of supporters to file his nomination papers Monday. Son Manvendra Singh, a BJP MLA from Sheo (Barmer), however, kept his distance from his father.

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  1. T
    Mar 25, 2014 at 2:31 am
    Jaswantji, it is time for you to go! Young India does not want you, does not need you. As MJ Akbar has rightly remarked, you senior BJP leaders have had a past and you still dwell there, and the young India aspires for a forward looking leader for their eyes are fixed on their future. Go, please go. I really wish there is a retirement age even for you politicians. You crowd out the capable young. High time you realize it. The message is the same for Advaniji, Step back and let the young ume power.
    1. N
      Mar 24, 2014 at 10:12 am
      There is a calculated effort to eliminate Mr. Advanai, and his ociates, including the Leader of the Oppositiojn in the Lok Sabha. It is also a calculated attempt to bring Mr. Jaitly through Lok Sabha route, and make him as Leader/and remove the lady who is said to be close to Mr. Advani.
      1. V
        Mar 24, 2014 at 1:08 pm
        Cat is out of the bag. Many of these old time politicians have been trumpeting that they had sacrificed everything for the nation, and keep telling that unlike the present day youngsters, were never power hungry and against all odds have put in their best efforts while keeping nations interest paramount. But what we get to see in the present days, these very same old timers have infact put in all their efforts to bring in their family members into politics and fought with their parties, and shamelessly seeking posts for both themselves and their sons/ daughters and not allowing any other deserving candidate to get an opportunity to even contest.As regards Mr. Jaswanth Singh, in his interview to TV channel, I found him become emotional and complaining like a child that " HE HAD REQUESTED HIS PARTY TO GIVE HIM A LAST CHANCE TO CONTEST AS THIS ELECTION IS HIS LAST ELECTION". Later when the party did not budge he was found saying on TV " THERE ARE TWO BJPS THE REAL AND THE FAKE ONE AND THE VOTER SHOULD BE CAUTIOUS" . If this be the case why at all he in the first place request the BJP in the first instance for a ticket and why did his son contest the embly election under BJP ticket and is still continuing in BJP. His son instead of taking sick leave better resign from party.SHAME ON THESE OLD TIMERS WHO KEEP DEMANDING PARTY POSITIONS IN ONE BREATH I.E., TWO TICKETS ONE FOR THEMSELF AND OTHER FOR THEIR NEAR AND DEAR ONES, STATING "ONE LAST CHANCE" EVEN WHEN THEIR ONE LEG IS ALREADY IN THE GRAVE. WE SHOULD NOT BE SURPRISED WHEN THESE SENIOR POLITICIANS DEMAND FOR A UNDERTAKING FROM THEIR PARTY WHILE THEY ARE ON THEIR DEATH BED, THAT " AFTER MY DEMISE THE PARTY SHOULD GIVE POSTS/TICKETS TO XYZ FROM MY FAMILY AND THIS IS MY LAST WISH WHICH IS ALSO EXPRESSED IN MY LAST WILL DEED AND THE PARTY TO FULFILL MY LAST DESIRE.THESE PEOPLE CAN NEVER BE SOLDIERS OF ANY PARTY, NOR A GOOD CITIZEN, AND FOR THEM NATIONS INTEREST IS ON THE LAST LAP, AND PARTY INTEREST IS SECONDARY. THEY WILL LEARN THEIR LESSON, ONLY IF THEY ARE DEFEATED BY A HUGE MARGIN. YOUNGSTERS VOTE FOR REAL SENIOR LEADERS WHO ARE SOLDIERS, BUT NOT THOSE LIKE JASWANTH SINGH, WHO SOUGHT TICKET THE EARLIER DAY FROM THE VERY SAME PARTY, WHICH HE BLAMED THE NEXT DAY FOR NOT GIVING HIM TICKETS. VOTERS ARE NOT FOOLS WE CAN IDENTIFY CROCODILE TEARS FROM REAL ONES. MERA DESH MAHAAN.