Undeterred by what L K Advani went through four years ago for calling Mohamm-ed Ali Jinnah a “secular” leader, senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh has called the founder of Pakistan a “great man” who was “demonised” by India.
In his new book Jinnah - India, Partition, Independence, which hits the stands on Monday, Singh has argued that Jinnah did not win Pakistan, it was conceded to him by Congress leaders Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
In a TV interview to Karan Thapar, Singh was asked if he thought Jinnah was a great man. He said, “Oh yes, because he created something out of nothing and … stood against the might of the Congress party and the British who didn't really like him... Gandhi himself called Jinnah a great Indian.”
He then went on to say in the interview that Indian Muslims have been treated like aliens.
Advani’s statement, made on a tour of Pakistan in 1995, had upset his party, the BJP, and its motherboard, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, which publicly demanded his ouster as party president.
The BJP seemed far less annoyed this time. Spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said there was no change in BJP’s stand on Jinnah — that he stood for separate nations for the two religions, which was “repugnant” to the party.
The Congress was less kind to him. Spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi called the BJP the Bharatiya Jinnah Party (for repeated praise for Jinnah) and said only it could condone the Gujarat carnage and talk about Muslims being treated as aliens in the same breath.
When told his party may not like his views on Jinnah, Singh said, “I did not write this book as a BJP parliamentarian. This is not a party document.”