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Jaswant self-goals upset party

But, say BJP leaders, Singh's discloure and his stand has put the party in hot spot.

india Updated: Jul 24, 2006 03:34 IST

With PM Manmohan Singh daring senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh to name the person who he claimed was a mole in the PMO (leaking nuclear secrets to the US), the BJP finds itself in a tight corner over his book.

Singh has refused to name the person in the PMO during the Congress regime. He says he had come to know about it a decade ago from a letter sent to a senator by a US diplomat. However, he preferred to remain quiet as he did not want to sensationalise the issue.

Also, he has said, “The honour of the Prime Minister’s Office, to an extent, was at stake. We were snooped, we are still being snooped.”

But, say BJP leaders, Singh's discloure and his stand has put the party in hot spot.

They aren't upset with Jaswant Singh's book only for the Kandahar episode of the US mole bit. They ask “what's new” and “why now” when the party is supposed to be trying to emerge from its own troubles to play the Opposition.

Some BJP leaders, including those who were Singh's Cabinet colleagues, say all that Singh has said about the Kandahar episode (including the demands of the hijackers of Indian plane) was stated by him to the media soon after the hijack in December 1999.

“What's new? If I were to write a book, and scribe what all I have said as a minister in the last six years, should it become a best seller?” asks a former BJP minister.

What is upsetting the BJP and RSS leaders is that Singh has said enough in the book to create fresh problems within the party.

Like LK Advani, Jaswant thinks Pakistan's founder MA Jinnah was a secular politician initially. He has also accused the Narendra Modi government of mishandling the Gujarat riots leading to loss of state control. In a candid admission, he also says, BJP's inability to control the Ram temple movement is one of the negatives of the BJP.

The RSS is certainly upset. Its mouthpiece, Organiser, has criticised the NDA government for its failure to contain terrorism and questioned the timing of the release of the book and the controversies it has created on various issues.

“The timing of the controversy is debatable for it also helped distract national focus from the core issue thrown up by serial blasts,” the Organiser said.

Singh is not a favourite of the RSS. In A Call to Honour, he recalls Sangh Parivar's opposition to induct him into the Cabinet after he lost the Lok Sabha elections in 1998.

Without identifying the RSS, Singh writes in the book, “I was again to be sworn into office, but could not be immediately, due to a last minute difficulty. This arose from an objection being raised suddenly from senior quarters about my inclusion in the ministerial ranks.”