Former external affairs minister Jaswant Singh’s decision to quit as the Lok Sabha’s public accounts committee chairman has triggered speculation of rapprochement with the BJP, which threw him out four months ago.
The 71-year-old leader, however, ruled out the possibility. “There is life beyond calculation in politics”, Singh said, adding he would be “sad” if his action would be seen as “bait for either entry or exit…”.
Singh submitted his resignation to Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar on Monday. It was accepted with effect from December 31 to enable him to complete three reports.
The timing of his exit from the body, which oversees government spending, set the tongues wagging in the party.
Singh was expelled from the BJP on August 19 for writing the book, Jinnah - India, Partition, Independence . His book blames Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel for Partition and describes Pakistan founder M.A. Jinnah as secular leader who has been demonised.
Singh was appointed to the committee on August 6.
Last Monday as he spoke in the Lok Sabha on the Gorkhaland issue, Singh addressed L.K. Advani, recalling fondly his three decades as a BJP member. The Leader of Opposition responded by referring to him as “my colleague.”
But party insiders say Singh’s return will be not be easy, as after his sack he was scathing in his criticism of senior BJP leaders and the RSS.
Asked why he held on for so long, Singh said, “I wanted to establish a point… which is the primacy of autonomy of functioning of parliamentary committees.”
Singh had refused to give in to the BJP’s demand that he quit as PAC chief he was no longer with the main opposition party, which traditionally holds the post.
Would he return to the BJP? “I didn’t calculate any advantage even on Gorkhaland issue.” Singh was elected to the Lok Sabha from Darjeeling, with the support of the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha.