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Is Jaswant Singh returning to BJP?
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Jaipur, May 21
Never say never in politics. This seems to be the case with former External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh as speculations about his return to the BJP are rife in political circles.

The initial indications of his return to party fold came after the death of former Vice-President and BJP stalwart Bhairon Singh Shekhawat here last week. According to sources, Jaswant was heading for Jaipur on his own to attend Shekhawat’s cremation when senior BJP leader LK Advani rang him up and urged him to accompany them (BJP leaders) to Jaipur. What has further fuelled the speculations is Jaswant Singh’s interview to a TV channel in which he has neither denied nor confirmed the rumours of his return to the party. “It was very courteous of Advaniji to invite me to join him and some of his other colleagues who were going to Jaipur for Bhairon Singhji’s cremation. I was very touched when Advaniji asked me to go with him.”

“I spent 32 years in it (BJP). How can I get it out of my blood stream,” he said when asked whether he felt that the BJP was still very much his party.

If the former Union minister succeeds in staging a comeback in the BJP, it would also have some political reasons, particularly in Rajasthan. Though the BJP had never played the Rajput card in the desert state, Shekhawat was the undisputed leader of the community here.

After demitting the Vice-President’s office, Shekhawat didn’t become an active member of the BJP but he was still one of the most powerful leaders of the party. Now, the BJP doesn’t have any prominent Rajput leader who can fill his shoes. Also many Rajput leaders associated with the BJP have left the party over the last three years. These include Surendra Singh Rathore, Lokendra Kalvi and Arjun Singh Devra. Apart from them, there is Devi Singh Bhati but he also seems to be a disgruntled Rajput leader in the party.

Jaswant Singh was expelled from the BJP after he praised Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, in his book “Jinnah: India-Partition-Independence” in August last.





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