Shimla : The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Thursday said its parliamentary board’s decision to expel senior leader Jaswant Singh was in view of the book’s contents that went against the core ideology of the party and a 2005 political resolution.
“The issue is not your right to author a book, the issue is the content of the book. No political party gives you the right to write against ideology of the party or to air your views publicly,” BJP general secretary Arun Jaitley told reporters here.
He was referring to Jaswant Singh’s book, “Jinnah-India, Partition, Independence”, in which he suggested that Pakistan’s founder Mohammed Ali Jinnah had been unfairly demonised in India.
The book was also mildly critical of the role played during India’s partition by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the country’s first home minister. Singh was expelled for this book Wednesday, 48 hours after its release and on the day the party’s three-day chintain baithak (brainstorming session) began here.
Jaitley said: “Jinnah was the principal architect of partition and this is the party’s belief. So, the content of the book is against the party’s ideology. Blaming Sardar Patel for partition is also against the party’s belief. He played a crucial role in uniting the country.
“Sardar Patel worked for uniting the country and blaming him is against the party’s ideology. So if the party frontline leaders write after the clarification (BJP’s resolution on June 10, 2005, that Jinnah was the principal architect for partition), the content of the writing is against the ideology.”
The party had adopted the resolution to this effect after BJP veteran L.K. Advani’s praise for Jinnah during a visit to Pakistan in 2005 that sparked off strong opinion from the party and its ideological parent Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
When told that no action was taken against Advani after his laudatory remarks on Jinnah, the BJP leader said: “Advani read what Jinnah had said in his speech in the constituent assembly to the people of Pakistan. It was a tactical reference to that speech which Advaniji cited… now to compare two people is not fair.”
Jaitley, the party’s leader in the Rajya Sabha, said Jaswant Singh’s views on Muslims that they felt themselves aliens in the country were also contradictory to the core ideology and belief of the party.
Asked if disciplinary action could be taken against a party leader without issuing him a show-cause notice, Jaitley said: “The parliamentary board (the party’s highest decision making body) has a right to do it. If somebody contests the elections against the party, he is immediate expelled without giving any notice.
“Even the party president has the prerogative to take action,” he clarified.
On taking action just two days after the book’s launch, Jaitley said: “On the day after the book’s release, the party president clarified the party’s stand on the issue and the next day members of the parliamentary board met. Looking at the gravity of the situation, the parliamentary board took action.”
On the ban on Singh’s book in Gujarat, he only said: “It is the right of the state governments and all depends upon them.”
He refused to reply to media’s queries on the introspection session.
“I am not here to answer any queries on the chintan baithak. Party president Rajnath Singh would brief the media after the conclusion of the session (Aug 21).”
On the submission and discussion of party leader Bal Apte’s report regarding the party’s debacle in the Lok Sabha elections, Jaitley said: “I am categorically stating that I have not seen such a report. Even my friend Ananth Kumar (who was sitting next to him during the press conference) has not seen (the report).”