‘Jaitley is not an example to follow, not one of lacking ambition’

Denied a BJP ticket and contesting Barmer as an independent, Jaswant Singh attacks Rajnath Singh and Arun Jaitley in this interview.

Updated: March 25, 2014 1:19:41 am

You have said this will be your last election. Your thoughts on the way things have gone?

I received a touching email from a dear friend. He said it seems God has ordained that you end your political life just as you had started it. My first election I contested as an independent. So here I am, as I was ordained to serve. Of course I would have wanted it to be an election of greater accord and not this variety of discord…

You have talked of dhokha and gaddari by people in the party. Where did it begin?

Dhokha zaroor hua hai. In 2009, Rajnath Singh just picked up a telephone and said you are being expelled. It was very wounding. You don’t dismiss even a chaprasi like that.

Before that, there was a sense that you were taking exception about Vasundhara Raje being high-handed.

There was a tendency of the Rajasthan CM then to attempt to govern in a certain fashion. I suppose I did convey it to her. I certainly tried to help the state of Rajasthan, in the offices of finance, defence. This is a state in which I was born, and (which I am) ready to serve. I conveyed it to her in a manner as best I could.

What are your equations with Narendra Modi?

I don’t want to comment on him.

Do you think Narendra Modi is a good PM choice?

It was for the party to decide.

You are one of the founding members.

But the party no longer treats me like that.

There is speculation about you joining the Congress. Are you in talks?

None at all. If I had wanted to go to Congress, why should I do it in a hidden, surreptitious manner?

You have been accused of personal ambition by Arun Jaitley. Your response?

Mr Jaitley is not an example to follow. Secondly, he is not an example of lacking ambition. His aspirations are punishing.

Why did you choose to contest as an independent? 

If the party does not accept me, what recourse do I have?

Do you think the reason for denying you a ticket is an apprehension of another power centre coming up in the state? You and your son both hold positions here.

There could be many factors. But firstly, I do not wish to speculate about them, and secondly, I really want to be far removed from this kind of pessimism.

You have talked of dictatorial decisions being made by the party.

I don’t know who is making the decisions and why they are making such decisions. I think Mr Advani has voiced this difficulty and indeed, as far as my candidature for Barmer is concerned, it is a mystery as to where and why this decision was taken. This has been voiced by my colleague Sushma Swaraj.

Do you apprehend your decision might affect your son’s political future?

I don’t know what you mean by affected. If you are suggesting that will my son be a victim of the decision making processes, will they be prejudiced against him… well, I sincerely hope not. He is an adult, he has been a representative of a parliamentary constituency. His fate will carry him.

What are your hopes for the BJP?

I would rather the party moved with the times but along with that it must continue to maintain its adherence to values and also hold its probity and accountability. Is there an absence of all that simply for the sake of winning an election?

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