'Advani protected Modi from Atal wrath'

'Advani protected Modi from Atal wrath'

The then PM was dissuaded from quitting, says Jaswant

Singh claimed that Advani stopped Vajpyee from taking corrective action in Gujarat on the ground that it may cause uproar within the party.

The “revelation” of the BJP leader came after he charged Advani with not defending him in the party in the case of  controversy surrounding his book on Jinnah even though he said, he   had “covered up” for Advani during the Kandahar incident. Advani had claimed that he was not informed about the exchange of terrorists for freeing  hostages. 

Considered close to Vajpayee, the BJP MP from Darjeeling maintained that Prime Minister Vajpayee was “disturbed” and wrote down his resignation letter in his Parliamentary office. “Parliament was in session,” Singh told a private television channel.

“He (Vajpayee) pulled a piece of paper and started writing his resignation by hand. I held his hand and he looked at me severely and I said what are you doing. Don’t do this. He said ‘chod do’ and I somehow I persuaded him. We went to his house. We were able to defuse the situation,” Jaswant Singh said.

Singh said he along with Vajpayee, Advani and Arun Shourie were flying to Goa for a BJP meeting when the conversation relating to the Gujarat Chief Minister cropped up.

“He (Vajpayee) asked, Gujarat ka kya karna hai (what should be done about Gujarat ?...there was silence for sometime. He then said Gujarat ke bare mein sochna chahiye. Then Advaniji went towards the bathroom...Atalji said poochhiye fir kya karna hai (ask him then what should be done)?

Uproar in party

“I went and asked Advaniji. Advaniji just said one phrase-bawaal khada ho jayega party mein (there will be uproar in the party),” Singh said.

Singh, who held the key portfolios of Finance and External Affairs in the Vajpayee government, said on that day, he was called from the House by Pramod Mahajan to the PM’s office in Parliament.

“Come quickly Jaswantji”, he told me. “I didn't know what had happened... When I went, I was told “sambhaliye, sambhaliye (control the situation). Istifa de rahein hain (he is giving his resignation).

Vajpayee called his secretary. “I told his secretary to go away and not come back. He (Vajpayee) sternly asked me kya kar rahe ho (what are you doing)”.

Asked whether Vajpayee was inclined to act against Modi, Singh said, “factually to the best of my recollection, yes, this was the conversation.”

Specifically quizzed  on whether Vajpayee was inclined to sack Modi, Singh said, “I would not use the word ‘sack’. But certainly from the party point of view he wanted to reflect and take some corrective measure.”

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