Sushma Meets Jaswant, Asks Him to Quit as PAC Chief

Hoping to fan out dissident fire, top Bharatiya Janata Party leader and Vidisha MP Sushma Swaraj on Monday met expelled party colleague, Jaswant Singh, and asked him to step down as chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), say media reports.

Swaraj called on Singh at his New Delhi residence and apprised him of the party view on him continuing as the PAC chief. He was appointed to the post less than a month ago.

The BJP, which recently sacked Singh over his praise for Pakistan founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah in his new book ‘Jinnah: India, Partition, Independence’, perhaps now wants to nominate some other member to the position.

Party leaders feel that Singh should resign from the position as his association with the BJP has come to an end. But Singh had clearly mentioned, after his ouster from the BJP, that he had no such plans.

The 22-member Public Accounts Committee is constituted by Parliament each year for examination of accounts showing the appropriation of sums granted by Parliament for expenditure of Government of India.

The Committee is further empowered to examine the annual finance accounts of Government of India, and other Accounts laid before Parliament as the Committee may deem fit such as accounts of autonomous and semi-autonomous bodies.

Swaraj’s meeting with Singh, the first between a senior party and Singh since the latter’s unceremonious ouster from the party, triggered speculations of a conciliatory tone being adopted by the BJP.

Singh, 71, was expelled from the party on August 19, two days after the launch of his controversial book.

Since his expulsion, the party has been witnessing serious strife with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat summoning several BJP leaders for one-on-one parleys on a change in leadership.

According to reports in the section of the media, Swaraj also asked Singh to tone down his anti-Advani rhetoric and the withdrawal of a petition he filed before the Supreme Court to challenge the ban on his book by the BJP state government in Gujarat.

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