Jaswant’s views on Jinnah not ours, says BJP


New Delhi : The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Tuesday disassociated itself from senior party leader Jaswant Singh’s praise for Pakistan’s founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah, saying it “does not represent the views of the party”.

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A day after Jaswant Singh’s book “Jinnah – India, Partition, Independence” was launched at a function in the capital, BJP president Rajnath Singh said the views expressed by the former external affairs minister were not that of the party.

“The book authored by Shri Jaswant Singh does not represent the views of the Bharatiya Janata Party. In fact the party completely dissociates itself from the contents of the book,” Rajnath Singh said in a statement issued here.

Eulogising Jinnah in his book, Jaswant Singh has said that the founder of Pakistan was “demonised” by India, while it was actually Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister, whose belief in a centralised polity had led to the partition of the country in 1947.

Contradicting Jaswant Singh’s view, the BJP president said: “Jinnah had an important role to play in the division of India, which led to a lot of dislocation and destabilisation of millions of people. This is too well-known.

“We cannot wish away this painful part of our history.”

He also contradicted Jaswant Singh’s view that Sardar Patel along with Nehru had “conceded” Pakistan to Jinnah.

“Jinnah did not win Pakistan, as the Congress leaders Nehru and Patel finally conceded Pakistan to Jinnah, with the British acting as an ever helpful midwife,” Singh has said in his 669-page book.

The BJP president said: “Sardar Patel played a historic role in the unification and consolidation of India amidst serious threats to its unity and integrity. The entire country remains indebted and proud of the profound vision, courage and leadership of Sardar Patel.”

Speaking to CNN-IBN channel, Jaswant Singh had said: “Nehru believed in a highly centralised polity. That’s what he wanted India to be. Jinnah wanted a federal polity. That even Gandhi accepted. Nehru didn’t. Consistently, he stood in the way of a federal India until 1947 when it became a partitioned India.”

Jaswant Singh strongly contested the popular Indian view that Jinnah was the villain of the 1947 partition or the man principally responsible for it. Asked if he thought this view was wrong, Jaswant Singh said: “It is. It is not borne out of the facts… we need to correct 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,” Jaswant Singh said.