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HindustanTimes Thu,31 Jul 2014

Jaswant Singh slams personality cult in BJP

PTI  Barmer, March 25, 2014
First Published: 15:45 IST(25/3/2014) | Last Updated: 15:48 IST(25/3/2014)

Stepping up his attack on Narendra Modi, BJP rebel Jaswant Singh on Tuesday said "personality cult" was not good in a democracy and it would harm the party.

"The way the party is focusing on one person is not correct. This cannot work in a democracy," he said a day after he filed his nomination as an Independent from Barmer Lok Sabha constituency.

The 76-year-old BJP veteran was asked what he thought of the campaign in the current Lok Sabha elections by his party which used to seek votes in the name of the organisation but was now doing it in the name of Modi.

Singh accused party president Rajnath Singh of "deliberately" sidelining him and said it was for BJP to expel him if it wants.

"Rajnath Singh has sidelined me probably under some plan. I have been betrayed and insulted. I am very much disappointed but I have not quit the party and I am not willing to do that.

"This is the second time I have been betrayed by the party and this is not tolerable. I am left in the lurch, but I have faith in God," Singh told PTI.

"I have not quit the party and will not. It is for the party to decide," he said, hinting that they were free to expel him.

The veteran leader said that nobody from the party, either from Delhi or Jaipur, contacted him after he filed nomination papers yesterday.

Singh decided to contest the Lok Sabha elections as an Independent after the BJP fielded former Congress MLA Sonaram Chowdhry, who joined BJP last week, from the Barmer seat.

Singh said that the manner in which things are happening in the party were against the BJP principles and said the party has been encroached by elements who never have any respect of party's ideology and principles.

When asked why chief minister Vasundhara Raje was against him, Singh said it was up to her to comment.

"I can say that I recommended her name for the chief ministership when I was travelling with the party leaders Atal Bihari Vajyapee and LK Advani," he said, adding the suggestion was also seconded by former vice president Bhairon Singh Shekhawat.

After filing his nomination from Barmer Lok Sabha constituency, the former union minister had on Monday made a veiled attack on Modi, saying the "Namo-Namo tamasha" and the decision-making process in BJP shows the "arrogance" of the Emergency era.

"The Namo-Namo tamasha, the decision-making process (in BJP) reminds me of 1975. There is more of arrogance and less of taking everyone along," Singh had said.

The former Union Minister had said that he had informed LK Advani almost 18 months back of his wish to contest his last election from hometown Barmer and then told Rajnath Singh and LK Advani a few weeks back.

Singh's earlier three terms in Lok Sabha have been from Jodhpur, Chittorgarh (Rajasthan) and Darjeeling (West Bengal).


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