Jaswant's cash-for-vote salvo at Advani

Jaswant's cash-for-vote salvo at Advani

BJP leader gave party MPs go-ahead to display currency notes in Parliament in July 2008

Jaswant Singh

“It’s a great sense of pity. Here was a man who was consumed by an ambition to be prime minister, and that desire made him commit so many mistakes.

“Do you know this whole wretched thing of money for votes is a classic example of wrong decision making and it’s extremely troubling that he did not stand up and say no. Advaniji was at the centre of this whole drama,” Jaswant Singh told Outlook magazine.

Singh was referring to the episode in the Lok Sabha during the trust vote in July last year when three BJP MPs displayed bundles of currency notes totalling Rs 1 crore claiming they were being offered as bribe to support the government. Singh said the facts were clear and he stumbled on to the whole thing when a very strange looking fellow was brought to his house by Sudheendra Kulkarni, a former aide of Advani. “I was not consulted but I was appalled that Advaniji was giving the MPs the go-ahead to display money in Parliament,” he said adding Advani had two choice—either to take the money to the Speaker or into the House. But he told the MPs to display the money in Parliament.

Failed leader

Singh said it was a matter of great sadness that Advani had singularly failed in his function as a leader to lead. A leader will have to lead by example and not through diktats, vague and unspecified insinuations and fears. Citing the example of the Army where leaders take responsibility, he said there were numerous examples when Advani would either keep quite or transfer responsibility to somebody else on occasions that troubled him and where he is likely to come under fire. “That is not the trait of a leader.”

On Arun Shourie’s description of Rajnath Singh as a Humpty Dumpty, Singh said the BJP president was a provincial leader who should never have been pushed up. On the BJP, he said: “This is no longer a political party. It is a cult or a sect. It has been reduced to the proprietary partnership of a few. This has come about under the leadership of Advani. To explain superficially, the 116 BJP MPs today are like lost waifs.” He said he did not support the decisions like banning of overflights to Pakistan and deployment of troops during ‘Operation Parakram’.

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