It will be a while before the BJP settles down. It asked expelled leader Jaswant Singh to give up a prestigious parliamentary position, but is not likely to succeed easily.
Sushma Swaraj called on Jaswant Singh at his residence on Monday to ask him to resign from the post of chairman of the public accounts committee, which scrutinises government’s spending. L K Advani also met Speaker Meira Kumar over the same issue.
If Singh quits, the BJP may nominate either Murli Manohar Joshi or Rajnath Singh, whose term as party chief ends in December. Jaswant Singh does not plan give up the post though.
But more worrying for party leaders, supposed to be trying to enforce a cease-fire as directed by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, was a letter written by Rajya Sangh MP Pyarelal Khandelwal.
In the letter addressed to Bhagwat, Advani and Rajnath Singh, Khandelwal has demanded the cancellation of Jaswant Singh’s expulsion, a possibility ruled out by the party later in the day.
Khandelwal, who is close to Joshi, wrote, “Proper procedure was not followed. Jaswant’s expulsion should be reconsidered.”
Former Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhra Raje added to the party’s troubles by sending her son instead to a scheduled meeting with senior BJP leader M. Venkaiah Naidu, saying she was down with viral fever.
Rajnath Singh wants her to quit.
Not all meetings in the party went awry though. Former RSS chief K.S. Sudarshan met Advani over breakfast, ending perhaps any bitterness caused by the 2005 face-off, when he had forced Advani to quit as BJP chief for praising Pakistan’s founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah.