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Shourie luckier, asked to clarify

Chastened by criticism of the summary expulsion of Jaswant Singh, the BJP on Tuesday asked Arun Shourie to clarify his outburst against the party and its leadership; he called chief Rajnath Singh “Alice in Blunderland”. Shekhar Iyer reports. Full coverageExclusive interview: Jaswant Singh speaks to HT

delhi Updated: Aug 26, 2009 10:06 IST
Shekhar Iyer

Chastened by criticism of the summary expulsion of Jaswant Singh, the BJP on Tuesday asked Arun Shourie to clarify his outburst against the party and its leadership; he called chief Rajnath Singh “Alice in Blunderland”.

If Rajnath Singh was offended, he did not show it. He took the view that Jaswant Singh’s was an ideology problem, not a discipline issue, as with Shourie.

Jaswant Singh was expelled without getting a chance to explain his praise for Pakistan’s founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah, and criticism of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

The party president also let himself be persuaded by aides that he was not Shourie’s target. It was aimed at Arun Jaitley, whose elevation as leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha upset a lot of party seniors.

Rajnath Singh himself is no friend of Jaitley’s. What may have further sweetened the pill for Singh was that Shourie told him on Tuesday that the criticism wasn’t aimed at him.

Shourie had in an interview on Monday said the BJP was out of control and that its leaders were like Humpty Dumpty and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh should crack the whip.

Spokesman Ram Madhav said the RSS was only a cultural organisation and the BJP must sort its problems on its own, with the Sangh’s “advice” if necessary.