Jaswant is back in BJP

Written by Political Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Jun 26 2010, 05:07am hrs
Jaswant Singhs re-entry into the BJP after nearly a year in exile was as choreographed as his exit had appeared hasty and ill conceived. In a ceremony attended by his long-time colleague LK Advani, party president Nitin Gadkari and the leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, Singh was welcomed home with honour and as Advani put it a sense of relief. He has been appointed a special invitee to the partys national executive.

Gadkari, who as soon as he had taken over, had spoken of getting back those who had left the party, said that Singhs expertise in finance and external affairs were sorely needed by the party in order to take on the UPA government in Parliament and outside. In fact, Jaswant Singh revealed that the rapproachment had begun as soon as Gadkari took over. Adhyakshji (president) called me up and said that he wanted to come over and take my blessings. I said main paapi purush hoon, main kya ashirwad doon (I am an old sinner, what will you do with my blessing), he said. But the honour and dignity he accorded me made me overcome the humiliation of my expulsion, he said.

The return, Singh revealed, was set in motion a few months ago when Lalji as he refers to Lal Krishna Advani called him up. He very graciously asked me if I would speak to him. I agreed, and went and met him at his house, where he asked me whether the past could be treated as a closed chapter. His gracious behaviour was so overwhelming that I got over my humiliation, he said. There are certain occasions in public life where these personal touches occur, and these are few and far between, he said. It is good to be back amidst these familiar surroundings and faces, said a visibly happy Singh.

Significantly, Advani had opposed Jaswant Singhs expulsion in the first place, after Singhs book on Jinnah was released. We have been associated with each other since the Jan Sangh days in Rajasthan, and I am happy to see him back, and this happiness is coupled with a sense of relief, said Advani.

No questions were entertained at the ceremony, including on whether the reasons over which Singh was expelled in the first place, specifically his views on Jinnah, still stand. There also remains the tricky question of just where Jaswant Singh will sit in the Lok Sabha, the best seats in the front having already being taken.

As of today, the party president summed up the mood. There is a sense of closure among party workers today, he said.