Jaswant’s Jinnah Jinx by Mohammed Ataur Rahman (AUGUST 28, 2009)

Mohammed Ataur Rahman on BJP’s second martyr to MA Jinnah

After former deputy prime minister and Iron Man-2, L K Advani, his cabinet colleague in the NDA government at Centre, Jaswant Singh, is the second senior BJP leader to be booted out of the party for looking at Pakistan’s founder, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, in a favourable light.

Jinnah is a hate figure in the Sangh, a conglomeration of organisations led by the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh (RSS), including BJP, the Sangh’s political face. Advani was removed from his party position following a visit to Pakistan (including his native Sind province) in 2005. Advani’s fall came because of his remark in Pakistan that Jinnah was a secular person.

Singh, too, has made a similar assessment of Jinnah in his book, Jinnah: India-Partition Independence, which has annoyed the party so strongly that its president Rajnath Singh told him on telephone in Shimla on August 19 that he had been expelled from BJP. Singh was in Shimla to attend the party’s chintan baithak (introspection session). Members of BJP parliamentary board had gathered there to analyse the causes of the party’s reverses in the Lok Sabha elections earlier this year and to chalk out its future political strategy.

Observers of the political scene said the expulsion came more because of Singh’s apportioning some of the blame to India’s first home minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel than for lauding Jinnah. Patel is a Sangh icon, after whom Advani and Modi have fashioned themselves. The Sangh’s appropriation of Patel, however, is problematic. On his part, Singh made it clear as to what Patel thought of the RSS: as home minister of India, he banned (albeit temporarily) the RSS following Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination by Nathuram Godse, who was said to have been affiliated with the RSS.

Singh was preparing to go to attend the meeting when the Rajnath firman came on phone, forestalling his participation in the proceedings. Advani was taken back into the party (with his wings properly clipped, of course), but Singh’s future seems uncertain.

 

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