Jaswant Singh compares BJP to Ku Klux Klan

Last Updated : 26 August 2009, 12:18 IST
Last Updated : 26 August 2009, 12:18 IST

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Why had he been unceremoniously expelled from the party a week ago, the former External Affairs Minister was asked.

"Please don't ask me. I am outside the magic circle of advisers or thinkers. Because, I am not from the RSS, is that why? So are we a political party? Is the BJP becoming some kind of an Indian version of Ku Klux Klan?" he shot back. KKK, widely known as The Klan, is the name of several past and present hate group organisations in the US, whose aim was to protect and further the rights of white Americans by intimidation.

Asked what he meant by reference to KKK, he said, "You know what the Klan means. You don't ask me about this."

Expressing reluctance to analyse why Advani was rejected by the people for the post of Prime Minister, Singh nevertheless said it was for the BJP veteran to reflect on this.

"It would be impertinent and perhaps, to a degree also, I would be commenting on my past 30 years with him if I commented on his characteristics, political or personal," he said.

Asked if Advani was surrounded by a coterie, Singh countered, "Does he run a coterie or does the coterie run him."

Singh, who did not share a warm relationship with the Sangh, said the BJP should reflect on its relationship with the RSS and be "mature enough to cut the umbilical cord".

"It is for the BJP to reflect on it. I feel for them to gain  their full personality as a political organisation, they have to stand on their own feet. Now they should be mature enough to cut the umbilical cord," he said.

He did not agree with BJP leader Arun Shourie's suggestion that RSS should take over the party saying it will not work.

"I would like the BJP to reflect on what has happened and try to be a party of the 21st century. They (RSS) are exclusivist. Besides, they are an organisation committed to social work," he said.

Asked why the BJP expelled him summarily for his writings in his book on Jinnah, Singh said he was still not able to establish the reasons and accused the party of adopting "double standards" when Advani also did "exactly the same" in 2005. MORE

Singh said, "I am still not able to establish the whys and wherefores of it. What wrong have I done in writing about a historical personality of India about whom Arun Shourie has cited the late RSS leader Seshadri and on Tuesday the former RSS Chief K S Sudarshan also said something similar.

"Then which core values, supposed core values, have I dented. Is writing about our own history an assault on core values. I don't want to cite that L K Advani had done exactly the same. So when all this began to fall flat, I was told that I have violated something sacrosanct about Sardar Patel."

Singh asked what had he violated or destroyed because Sardar Patel and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru were the two principal Congress leaders who agreed to the Partition of India. "That is a historical fact. So I still don't know."

To a question on a long rope being extended to Vasundhara Raje in Rajasthan and Shourie merely being asked for clarification, he said, "I am sorry. I cannot comment on it. I was told don't come to the meeting. Of course. Good luck to Raje. But there are obviously double standards. Advani says the same thing in 2005."

Asked if his expulsion was a message to other dissidents in the party, he shot back "Am I a dissident. I am sorry. Your question suggests I am some kind of a dissident. I feel I am one of the original founding members of the party.

"Who felt that I had raised queries or questions. And is questioning or wondering or enquiring about the functioning of the party dissidence? So are we moving into an era of thought control?" he said.

Asked what was the way forward for the BJP, the former minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee cabinet, Singh said, "Do ask them what they intend doing. I see the party daily demonstrating some kind of typical political implosion."

To a question as to what made Vajpayee a great leader, Singh said it was the dimensions of his personal and political ideas and personality.

"He was tolerant, inclusive, accommodative. He absorbed dissidence. He had a very acute understanding of the inner dynamics of the party as indeed of the impulse that keeps India moving," he said.

To a query whether BJP missed a leader like Vajpayee, he said, "Again, why don't you ask BJP? It is a difference. The party was led differently during Vajpayee's time. Now it is led differently. I don't have to comment. Events themselves are a great comment."

Asked whether he would be a rallying point if there is a split in the BJP, he said, it was entirely an hypothetical question. "I wish the BJP well. A s far as the BJP, let the party chart its own course."

To a question if the BJP could be revived like the "New Labour" in England, he said, "Free me, free me, I am out of that."

Singh said "without doubt" the BJP was in a crisis of leadership which was not current but has been building up over a period of time.

"It is a crisis of character essentially and it is only from character that leadership of probity and accountability in public life, of integrity, of thought and conduct can arise," he said.

He said the decline of BJP started because of the "great poison--the lure of office."

Asked about the chances of reconciliation with BJP, Singh said, "Reconciliation to what? Reconciliation to an insult?"

He ruled out joining the Samajwadi Party, which has invited him to join it. "I am happy to be an independent." He said he was an independent member of the Parliament now representing Darjeeling constituency and Gorkha Janmukhti Morcha (GJM) has reaffirmed its total faith in him.

"I will serve the cause of GJM and the Gorkha land. That is my karma bhoomi and my janam bhoomi is the desert. I shall serve them," he said.

He also ruled out stepping down as Chairman of the prestigious Parliamentary Accounts Committee following his expulsion from the BJP.

Singh said he had consulted the Secretary General of the Lok Sabha, who said that rules did not require him to step down. The Committee is mini-Parliament and it was the prerogative of the Speaker to remove him on certain grounds which do not apply to him, he said.

When told he had become Chairman because BJP nominated him to it, he said, "BJP nominated me only to contest the elections."

Published 26 August 2009, 12:18 IST

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