Jaswant Singh Expelled from BJP

Senior leader Jaswant Singh, running into controversy for his book that eulogized Mohammad Ali Jinnah, has eventually been expelled from the BJP.

The decision to expel Jaswant from the party came during a meeting of the Parliamentary Board of the party in Shimla on the occasion of the opening session of the three-day brainstorming session of the top leaders.

The decision was announced to the media by party president Rajnath Singh, who had on Tuesday issued a statement totally distancing the party from Jaswant’s book “Jinnah – India, Partition, Independence”, announced the decision to the media.

“I had issued a statement yesterday that the party fully dissociates itself from the contents of the book.  Today I put up the matter before the Parliamentary Board which decided to end his primary membership.

“So he has been expelled.  From now now onwards he will not be a member of any body of the party or be an office bearer,” he said on the expulsion of the 71-year-old party veteran.

It may be mentioned that Rajnath Singh had already told Jaswant on Tuesday not come to Shimla for participating in the ‘chintan baithak’.

Since party’s drubbing in Lok Sabha elections, Jaswant has been having an uneasy terms with the party leadership and had even circulated following elections a note demanding a thorough discussion on the debacle.

However, some BJP leaders are expected to raise the issue of Jaswant Singh praising Jinnah at the conclave.

The BJP has already distanced itself from Jaswant Singh’s observations that Jinnah was not responsible for partition, with party chief Rajnath Singh saying the role played by Jinnah in division of India cannot be wished away.

BJP is also faced with a rebellion by Vasundhara Raje, who has defied the high command and refuses to step down as Leader of the Opposition in Rajasthan assembly despite being asked to do so.

Significantly, senior leaders Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie, who had openly raised questions over accountability for the poll drubbing, have been kept away from the meeting.

The focus of attention is expected to be on north Indian states, including Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, where the party could not perform up to expectations.

However, the Chintan Baithak may bury the past and try to look at the road ahead to avoid a barrage of blame game for the poll debacle.

Advani had earlier said the party would explore new avenues including looking at ways of expanding the party base in south India where it has no presence in 145 Lok Sabha constituencies.

The three-day meet will see four sessions everyday.

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