New Delhi : Veteran Bharatiya Janata Party leader Jaswant Singh’s expulsion from the party Wednesday is an “overreaction”, according to some in the BJP, and a signal against indiscipline, according to others. The ally Shiv Sena has, however, demanded the party should treat L.K. Advani too in the same manner.
“It is (an) extreme overreaction, the whole thing has been graceless. There were lots of people not happy with him,” says political analayst and columnist Swapan Dasgupta, who is known for his right-of-the-centre views.
Dasgupta said Jaswant Singh’s expulsion was triggered “not by the book” – “Jinnah: India – Partition – Independence” – but by an “interview, in which he said Muslims feel alienated” and criticised the party.
“To use an academic discussion of a man (Pakistan founder Mohammed Ali Jinnah) who died 61 years ago for his expulsion is a bit too much,” Dasgupta said.
Singh was expelled from the primary membership of the party two days after the release of his controversial book on Jinnah.
He has argued that Jinnah was “demonised” by India while it was actually India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s belief in a centralised polity that led to the Partition.
Speaking to the CNN-IBN channel, Singh, a former external affairs minister, 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.”
Shiv Sena MP Bharat Kumar Raut told IANS that he is “happy with the decision of the party” but added the party “should take a similar view on Advani as well” — for Advani also showered praises on Jinnah during his vist to Pakistan in 2005.
However, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which is ideological fountainhead of the BJP, refused to comment.
“It is the party’s internal matter. I don’t have to say anything,” RSS spokesperson Ram Madhav told IANS.
A member of the BJP national executive, wishing anonymity, said by expelling Jaswant Singh the party wanted to send a strong message that indiscipline would not be tolerated.
“Perhaps the BJP and the RSS have grabbed the opportunity to send a strong message to the party that indiscipline will not be tolerated and extreme action can be taken against anyone – no matter how senior he or she is,” the national executive member told IANS.
“This is the first time that (party president) Rajnath Singh has used his official authority, perhaps at the behest of RSS,” he added.