Now, Yashwant rushes to back Jaswant Singh

Written by Political Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Aug 28 2009, 05:31am hrs
The Jaswant Singh saga continued to rock the BJP boat as senior leader Yashwant Sinha on Thursday came out openly in support of the expelled leader by contending that not only was the whole expulsion process adopted by the BJP leadership was faulty but writing a book on Jinnah did not amount to indiscipline.

Sinha is the second top rung leader in the BJP, after Arun Shourie, to have publicly attacked the party leadership for its functioning. Jaswant Singh was dealt with unfairly. Though I do not agree with Jaswant Singhs assessment of Jinnah, still, I feel it was not a disciplinary matter at all, Sinha told newsagencies.

The former union minister, who has also questioned the party leadership on the poll debacle and resigned from all posts that he held as a mark of protest, said it was not right for the party to take a decision to summarily expel someone who has been in the party for 30 years and had been one of its founder-members. Contending that writing the book did not constitute indiscipline, he said the party president had already distanced himself from the contents of Jaswant Singhs book. That should have been enough.

The senior BJP leader also backed Jaswant Singh on his contention over the IC 814 hijacking episode that then home minister LK Advani was well aware of the decision to send him to Kandhahar.

Singh, in fact, found further support from former national security advisor Brajesh Mishra, who said that Advani was in the loop on all aspects relating to Kandahar. He said the former home minister was part of the NDA govenrments decision to release three terrorists and to send Jaswant Singh to Kandahar.

The decision was taken by the Cabinet Committee on Security which has, you know, five members Prime Minister, home minister, finance minister, external affairs minister and defence minister.....once those demands were whittled down to three terrorists and no money and no interred remains (of some terrorist), then there was a unanimous decision of the CCS that in order to save the lives of 160 plus hostages and the aircraft crew, it made sense to release these three terrorists and get the hostages back, Mishra said in an interview.

Mishra, who is considered close to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, said Advani was also aware of the decision to send Jaswant Singh to Kandahar to secure the release of hostages. Again the CCS met and Jaswant Singh proposed that he would go to Kandahar to bring back the hostages and he explained that the Indian representatives who were negotiating in Kandahar - diplomats, IB, RAW they had suggested that somebody should be there to take care of any last minute complications. This he informed the CCS and they agreed to send him, Mishra said.

Three members of the then CCS, George Fernandes, Jaswant Singh and Yashwant Sinha have already said this, Mishra added.

Mishra also said that Jaswant Singh would never have been summarily expelled for his views on Jinna, had Vajpayee been active in the party. He said Vajpayee did not believe in actions like banning of books.