Jaswant Singh slams fake Bharatiya Janata Party, encroachers

Written by Sweta Dutta | Jaipur | Updated: Mar 23 2014, 04:57am hrs
A day after the BJP denied Jaswant Singh a ticket from his home turf of Barmer, the veteran leader hit out at what he called encroachment in the party, and asked his supporters to differentiate between the real and fake BJP.

Sources close to Jaswant said he was likely to resign from the BJP on Sunday, and file his nomination as an independent candidate from Barmer on Monday.

We had set up a magnificent edifice that the BJP was an alternative to the misrule of the Congress. But now there is an encroachment in the BJP. Therefore, it is necessary to see who has encroached and why this encroachment has continued and is being promoted, Jaswant said in Jodhpur on Saturday.

Barmer is not the only seat where an outsider has been fielded, there are several such seats across the country. I want to ask the leadership on what principles have the tickets been allotted, he said.

The BJP has chose Jat leader Colonel Sonaram Choudhary, who crossed over from the Congress this week, over Jaswant for the Barmer ticket. The decision is believed to have been taken jointly by BJP president Rajnath Singh and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje.

An emotional Jaswant broke down before reporters and his followers in Jodhpur, saying, It is hurtful to even think that this is not the real BJP. The state and central leadership should reflect on the encroachment on the principles of the party, he said. The party worker has to differentiate between the real and fake BJP.

Jaswant will visit his native village Jasol on Sunday before heading to Barmer on Monday. Sources close to the family said the leader was under pressure from supporters to contest as an independent.

Posters against the fake BJP, and seeking support for Jaswant, were circulated across western Rajasthan on Saturday. Jaswant ka yeh apmaan, nahin sahega Rajasthan (Rajasthan will not tolerate Jaswants insult), waqt hai asli BJP aur nakli BJP mein chayan karein (It is time to choose between the real and fake BJP), and Jaswant ke saath chalein, sachhai ke saath chalein (Back Jaswant, back the truth), said the posters, put up on vehicles of supporters, and circulated on social media.

Narendra Modis photo had been covered on the posters, which also had pictures of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and BJP patriarch L K Advani.

As Jaswants supporters continued to protest against Col Sonaram, the BJP candidate, who reached Barmer on Saturday, told reporters that such misunderstandings sometimes happened in a family, and he was confident that matters would be sorted out soon. Sonaram said Jaswant had been senior to him both in the Army and in politics, and he look forward to a compromise.

Jaswants son Manvendra Singh, the sitting MLA from Sheo in Barmer, now faces a tightrope walk in the party. He has been denied a ministerial berth by Vasundhara, and any move on his part which is deemed to be anti-party is likely to attract strict action. Family sources said Manvendra was likely, in the circumstances, to keep a low profile as the tussle between his father and their party plays out.