Former external affairs minister Jaswant Singh rejoined the BJP on his own terms on Thursday, almost a year after he was expelled for writing a book praising Pakistan founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah.
The party chose to be silent on the book — keeping his re-entry press meet a no-question-and-answer affair — but Singh told news channels that he had not disowned his book.
“I cannot disown the book on Jinnah,” he said. “Historical facts about Jinnah can’t be wished away just because we disagree.”
Singh gave full credit to LK Advani for taking the initiative to bring him back. “He telephoned me and asked whether I would like to meet him. I did. Whatever the hurt and humiliation I encountered when I was expelled, I felt much gratitude towards him for his gesture.”
He thanked Nitin Gadkari for having called on him weeks after taking over as BJP president to seek his “blessings”.
Advani felt a “sense of relief” that Singh was back. “The past is past. Now the BJP will get Jaswant Singhji’s guidance.”
Sources said the return of Singh and the fielding of Ram Jethmalani – who had praised Singh’s book and backed Afzal Guru – was likely to weaken the perception that the RSS had acquired control over the BJP after Gadkari took charge.
The Congress said the opposition party should explain whether it endorsed Singh’s views on Jinnah.
“The BJP has become like a revolving door of a hotel. It throws out people at one time and brings them in the next time,” party spokesman Manish Tewari said.