The prodigal bushy-browed son returns and the verdict is that he’s returned to his mothership ‘on his own terms’. Not quite breaking into a baritone version of Frank Sinatra’s ‘My way’, Jaswant Singh, MP from Darjeeling and son-of-the-Barmer-soil, is back in the BJP that had expelled him last summer for saying ‘nice things’ about Mohammad Ali Jinnah, not the Sangh parivar’s favourite freedom fighter in a book that he had written. Almost 12 years later, the BJP doesn’t want to talk about Mr Singh’s ‘Jinnah’ episode — perhaps because someone else more high-ranking than him had also praised Jinnah’s ‘secular credentials’ when the latter had made a trip to Pakistan.
But what about the rather strong words Mr Singh had used against the BJP? After all, not even the CPI(M), in its more secular seances, has ever dared to ask whether the BJP was “turning into some kind of an Indian version of the
Ku Klux Klan”? But as the not-too-well-known saying goes, a year in politics is an orbital change. Like a naughty boy, of course, the Congress still wants to know what the BJP leadership thinks of that, eh?
The truth is that in the party of the voiceless or the cacophonic — the two extreme positions the BJP keeps of late — a gravel-voiced gent can be helpful. The once mighty ‘party with a difference’ has been a party with too many differences over the last one year. Now with Mr Singh back and Uma Bharti waiting to see how the canary survives in the mine that is the BJP, we may just be seeing the grand old opposition party bolstered by its old grandees.