Senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh surprised party colleagues including LK Advani by confirming SP leader Amar Singh’s revelation that he (Jaswant) had carried a BJP plan to the UNPA to topple the UPA government during last year’s presidential election.
The startling admission came at the end of a news conference Jaswant addressed with Advani on Saturday, in the course of which the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate slammed the SP and Congress for their “opportunistic alliance”.
Jaswant’s statement directly contradicted the BJP line that Amar Singh’s remarks were “baseless and a pure work of fiction”. Singh had spoken about the incident a few days ago to counter the charge of opportunism against the SP, and to illustrate the BJP’s alleged two-facedness.
Jaswant said he had told UNPA leaders that the BJP would back one of them for PM if they agreed to support NDA nominee Bhairon Singh Shekhawat for president.
He had made the offer on behalf of the NDA after he was authorised by the BJP, and had routed it through AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa, Jaswant said. He clarified that the offer was not for a specific leader; it was open to any UNPA candidate.
Last year, the BJP had worked furiously behind the scenes to ensure UPA-Left nominee Pratibha Patil’s defeat, hoping it would bring down Manmohan Singh’s government.
Asked why he had visited Amar Singh a few days ago, Jaswant said he intended “to ascertain which way the wind is blowing in the Samajwadi Party”.