Once seen as part of the triumvirate including former Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee and L.K. Advani, Jaswant Singh transformed himself into a leading dissident after the BJP lost the Lok Sabha polls in May.
He raised a banner of protest against appointments made by Advani in the BJP parliamentary party — Arun Jaitley as the party leader in the Rajya Sabha and Sushma Swaraj as Advani’s deputy in the Lok Sabha.
On June 10, at a meeting of the BJP’s core group, Singh surprised everyone with a note questioning Advani’s decisions and his continuation as Leader of the Opposition.
“Where’s the introspection and where’s accountability?” he had thundered.
Even as BJP chief Rajnath Singh took back his note for discussion at a chintan baithak (introspection meet) later, TV channels got it from a professional publicist close to Jaswant Singh and flashed it.
As Jaswant Singh was joined by Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie in their criticisms, which also found their way to the media, the BJP saw a confirmed rebel who was upset that the party had nothing more to offer him.
So, after expelling him, the BJP officially said the decision was meant to send a message that it would not compromise with its ideology and discipline in the party.
The objective was to tell other dissenters like Arun Shourie and others in the states that things could really get tough. RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat clearly wanted the party to stop the squabbles.
“The immediate cause for expulsion may have been Singh's book glorifying Jinnah and blaming Nehru and Sardar Patel for Partition. But the real issue is that Jaswant Singh had established himself as a repeated rebel,” said a BJP leader.
“Today's decision meant only one thing that the party would not compromise with ideology, and discipline,” spokesperson Prakash Javdekar said.