With a sulking Jaswant Singh set to contest from Barmer as an Independent after being denied a party ticket, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Arun Jaitley on Sunday said leaders should learn to accept “no” after being showered with privileges.
Jaswant Singh filed his nomination from Rajasthan's Barmer constituency as an Independent candidate. (HT Photo)
“Membership of a political party is a privilege. It is also an act of self oppression where personal views and ambitions are subjected to collective wisdom of the party. At times, the party may flood leaders with privileges and positions. On other occasions, the leader may have to take 'no' as an answer to his desires,” Jaitley wrote on his website.
Camping in Jodhpur earlier, Singh hit out at the BJP for welcoming outsiders and diluting its ideology. The 76-year-old was overlooked for former Congressman Col Sonaram Choudhary, a new entrant.
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“We have to differentiate between the real and fake BJP… One has to reflect on the principles the party stood for and the direction in which it is being led now,” he said. “It is unfortunate the BJP has been taken over by elements who have never respected the party’s ideology.”
Jaitley on Sunday said the politician or leader denied a ticket must accept the decision with a “smile”.
“This becomes a test of his loyalty and discipline. Restraint and silence are always a preferred option. Over reaction may prove be a transient storm in a tea cup. Silence is always dignified and more gracious,” he said in an oblique reference to Singh.
Jaitley, contesting from the Amritsar seat, said in election season, many political persons desirous of being candidates succeed in getting a party nomination, but many more get left out.
“A political party is built upon the support of millions of political workers who have sacrificed their time and energy without ever aspiring to hold elected office. What does a politician do when after a successful political career the party is unable to accommodate him once? That is when his discipline and political loyalty are to be tested,” the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha wrote.
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Upset after being denied a Lok Sabha ticket, former Union minister Singh on Sunday said he had decided to contest the Lok Sabha elections as an Independent from the Barmer seat and will file his nomination papers on Monday.
Singh, however, is not resigning from the party yet and said he would consult his colleagues before taking that step.
Sympathising with him, Swaraj had said, “It was not a normal decision. Such unusual decisions (asaadharan nirnay) are not taken without reason. There must be some reason because this is a ticket that was not decided by the election committee. It was decided later. There must be some reason but, personally, I am pained with this.”
Read: Outsiders, imposters encroaching upon BJP ideology: Jaswant Singh
Her remarks are being seen as an attempt by a group within the party to distance itself from the decision. But BJP spokesman Sudhanshu Trivedi refused to read too much into it, saying, “Jaswant Singh is one of the senior-most leaders of the party. His contribution to the party and the NDA government is immense. When such a senior leader leaves the party, it is painful. Sushma Swaraj expressed that pain. She has not expressed anguish or contradicted the party decision.”
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