'What on Patel that offended BJP ?'

Jaswant upset over ban on book, says India shutting door to thought

'What on Patel that offended BJP ?'

Jaswant Singh talks over phone after addressing a press  conference in New Delhi on Thursday. PTI

Singh, who returned to Delhi from Shimla after his expulsion, told reporters: “There is a mention of Sardar Patel some seven to eight times in the book. I do not know which particular part aggrieved the party. They have still not clarified this.”

He said he wished his former party colleagues had read the book, which was not against Sardar Patel, but said the Congress and the British were also responsible for the partition of India.

The former Union minister wondered what happened between the “evening of August 17 (when the book was released) and 1 pm on August 19,” when he was expelled.
The 71-year-old leader added that the fact that he was writing a book on Jinnah was not hidden from the party leadership.

“I had mentioned it at the launch of Advaniji’s book. They asked me if I could withhold the book till the Assembly elections,” he said.

He also said that then the leadership wished he put it off till the Lok Sabha elections. Later, the party expected him to release the book after the three-day chintan baithak (brainstorming meeting) that began in Shimla on Wednesday.

“I did not fix the release date, it was decided by the publishers as it was the day the publishing company was formed,” he said.

No RSS connections

Asked if he was expelled because he had no connections in the BJP’s ideological parent, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Singh said: “It is known I have no relationship or membership of the RSS. I never had any during my 42 years in politics.”
He, however, said: “The grounding that the army gave me is much better than what the RSS professes.”

Singh was one of the founding members of the BJP in 1980.

Gujarat ban

Singh reiterated that he was saddened by the ban on his book in Gujarat.
“I am sad the book has been banned. I join the eminent company of authors like Salman Rushdie. I think banning books in India is shutting the door to thought,” he lamented, and added that politicians like Jawaharlal Nehru and Winston Churchill had written books too.

IANS

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