Raging tussle for power in BJP
The expulsion of BJP's senior leader Jaswant Singh from the party for his controversial book praising Pakistan founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah reflects the raging tussle for power and growing dissents among second generation of leaders in the saffron party, political analysts said here yesterday.
In a double whammy for Jaswant Singh, his book "JinnahIndia, Partition, Independence" was banned by the BJP government in Gujarat state on Wednesday night for allegedly defaming India's first Home Minister Vallabbhai Patel.
The ban came hours after Jaswant was expelled from BJP as per a decision taken at a special meeting of the party's powerful parliamentary board in Shimla on Wednesday.
According to BJP sources, the trigger for Jaswant's expulsion was his criticism of Patel, who hailed from Gujarat, more than his praise for Jinnah.
Clearly, Jaswant's views on Patel and Jinnah were totally out of synchronisation with those of BJP and its spiritual fountainhead Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. For BJP and RSS, his remarks were nothing short of "ideological blasphemy."
Patel, who was the Home Minister in the cabinet headed by independent India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, is revered by BJP as the "iron man" who had played a key role in uniting princely states with India soon after independence.
Jaswant's book had charged Nehru and Patel with being responsible for the Partition of India. The criticism of Patel had no doubt touched the raw nerve of BJP leadership, party sources and analysts said.
Questions are doing the rounds why Jaswant was expelled when another senior BJP leader LK Advani, during a tour of Pakistan in 2005, had reportedly praised the "secular" credentials of Jinnah.
Many BJP leaders, including party spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad, countered by saying Advani had never questioned Jinnah's role in the Partition and criticised Patel.
BJP insiders say the expulsion of Jaswant had in some ways capped a series complaints in the party against him since BJP's defeat in parliamentary elections in April this year. The poll defeat sparked public bickering in BJP over fixing accountability with some leaders going public against criticism of their colleagues in a veiled manner.
A report prepared by another senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha on the party's debacle in Rajasthan state, to which Jaswant belongs, accusing the latter's camp followers of sabotaging the prospects in the state assembly as also parliamentary elections. In Rajasthan, Jaswant's in-house rival was former chief minister Vasundhara Raje.