Tearful Jaswant Singh attacks Bharatiya Janata Party leadership; Narendra Modi hand seen in move by saffron party

Written by PTI | Jodhpur | Updated: Mar 23 2014, 03:48am hrs
Jaswant singhJaswant Singh breaks down after Bharatiya Janata Party denied him ticket. PTI
Angry over denial of ticket to him in the Lok Sabha elections, Jaswant Singh today attacked the BJP leadership, saying there was need to differentiate between "real" and "fake" BJP as whatever was happening in the party now was not in line with its ideology.

The former Union Minister is considered close to party veteran L K Advani and there is speculation that Narendra Modi backed Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhra Raje's stand on the issue of Barmer ticket.

The 76-year-old leader, who currently represents Darjeeling in Lok Sabha, maintained suspense over whether he would contest an an independent from Barmer seat which has been given by BJP to recent entrant from Congress Sonaram Choudhry. He is likely to announce his decision in Barmer on March 24.

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"We have to differentiate between the real and fake BJP. What is happening now is the difference between real and fake. One has to reflect upon the principles for which the party stood and the direction in which it is being led now," he told reporters.

Jaswant Singh, one of the founders of BJP, said it was important for the subscribers of the philosophy of BJP to know who has "encroached and what are their gains", in an attack on the leadership without taking names.

"The party has done this to me twice now and now there is no chance of accepting any alternative proposal," he said in comments that came as party President Rajnath Singh and senior leader Arun Jaitley spoke of utilising Jaswant Singh's services in an appropriate manner.

He recalled the contributions of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and L K Advani in building the party and wondered where the party is going now.

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A close associate of Vajpayee as well as Advani, whose

influence has also waned in the party, he said it is important for the subscribers of the philosophy of BJP to know who has "encroached" on it.

"They should ask where is the party going." Jaswant Singh, who would be reaching Barmer tomorrow, refused to disclose his plans on whether he would be filing his nomination as an independent.

"Everything will be decided only after I reach Barmer and have a discussion with my supporters," he said.

Referring to the denial of ticket to him and the "disregarding" of other senior leaders in the party, Jaswant Singh said that "this party of ideology is tragically being encroached upon by those, who have been arch detractors of BJPs ideology."

"It is so unfortunate that the BJP has been completely taken over by the elements (outsiders), who never have any respect for party's ideology", he said.

Opposing giving tickets to those who have recently joined the party either as defectors or as new entrants in politics, Jaswant Singh remarked sarcastically that "for them it is easy to have a BJP ticket than to have a rail or a flight."

His earlier three terms in Lok Sabha have been from Jodhpur, Chittorgarh (Rajasthan) and Darjeeling (West Bengal).

Jaswant Singh turned emotional, teary eyed, as he spoke of his "pain" but made it clear that he does not want to do the "politics" of emotions.

Meanwhile, at a BJP briefing, party spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi said Jaswant Singh has been a prominent leader and his contribution to both the NDA and India has been valuable.

"BJP owes respect to him for the contribution he made to NDA and the country," he said.

On the denial of a poll ticket to Jaswant Singh, he said, "The Central Election Committee has taken care of all issues before deciding on a candidate."

He said that the veteran BJP leaders, who had built the party from the grassroots from merely two MPs to a formidable force today, had "served the party selflessly, without any (thought for) returns".

"It will be unfair to compare their tall stature and contribution with merely a party ticket," Trivedi said.

Trivedi also denied that outsiders were being preferred by BJP over party workers and loyalists.

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