Don’t feel sorry for him. Saint Jaswant Singh will be okay. The BJP has expelled him. Party president Rajnath Singh is sounding all important when he says:
"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 onwards he will not be a member of any body of the party or be an office bearer."
If the party had dissociated with his views in the book, then why was he not invited for the 'chintan baithak' in Shimla? To spare him.
Do not be surprised if he already knew about this decision and was in fact a party to it. This baloney about “his uneasy relationship with the party ever since he circulated a note demanding a discussion on the debacle in the Lok Sabha elections” is only to colour him with some errant boy status.
The moot point is: Has he been expelled in spirit from the party? The answer would be No. The Sangh Parivar makes sure that the BJP works like a second rung to the RSS. It is a mutual understanding that one will play the hardliner role and the other will be statesman-like, in as much as it is possible for Modi types to be.
It is no coincidence that early in today’s papers the RSS chief Mohan Madhukar Bhagwat had talked about how the age limit for people in positions of power should be lowered, 60 being the oldest. These moves had already started with Arun Jaitley and Arun Shourie propping up Modi against Advani. The fact is that they are still in the party and having fun at Shimla.
Jaswant Singh is the middle ground and can usually swing both ways. Right now, he has been given this golden mean path on a platter. And it isn’t by the BJP, but the RSS. As the mai-baap of the BJP, it has to rap the knuckles of anyone who acts a bit different. That he is 71 and their leader said nothing beyond 60 is a message not just for him but to others who are being pickled within the party.
The Modi caucus will imagine they have got ahead. The oldies will cackle, maybe even share some chapli kebabs and think about how secular they are and the Indian subcontinent could well do with their wisdom. Pakistan will want to deal with these lost sons, not the Aruns. These are old-timers with history written on their faces. And Jaswant Singh would fit in right with the elite Lahore crowd, his safari suit notwithstanding.
Just remember one thing. The BJP is waiting to forgive him. He will stand his course till the book is in its second edition. And the JS family has nothing to worry about. His son is in the party after winning an election.
What the BJP and the rest of the political parties and public ought to be interested in is to find out what he has to say about Golwalkar and Savarkar and Godse. Jinnah is only a bahana...
(More on this in the earlier post)