Rejecting criticism against his summary expulsion, BJP on Thursday said that what Jaswant Singh wrote in his book on M A Jinnah and Sardar Patel were “directly opposed” to its core ideology and constituted a grave indiscipline.
“The BJP Constitution says that the Parliamentary Board has powers in all matters of indiscipline and to decide the procedure and the action in such cases,” senior party leader Arun Jaitley told a press conference defending the summary expulsion without any show cause notice.
All the political parties have adopted such a course of action in such situations, he said citing the example of summary expulsion of leaders who contest against the party in elections.
Replying to questions, Jaitley sought to make a distinction between Singh’s views on Jinnah and what was said by senior leader L K Advani in 2005 during his visit to Pakistan.
“There is a basic difference between what the two leaders have said. What Advani said was a tactical reference to Jinnah’s speech in Pakistan’s constituent assembly to tell the people of Pakistan what situation they have come to.
“But to say that Jinnah was demonised in India, that Indian Muslims feel as aliens in the country and to denigrate Sardar Patel goes against the national consensus and party’s core beliefs,” Jaitley said.
Answering criticism that the party was muzzling a senior leader for writing a book and expressing views, Jaitley said the party has no objection ordinarily against any intellectual exercise like this by a party functionary so far as it does not goes against the strong and core beliefs of the party.
"The issue is not your right to author a book but the issue is what you say and what you write. The basic issue that remains is what you say and what you write and the contents of the book. No political party can allow any member, more so a front line leader, to write and express views against the core ideology of the party," he said.
Jaitley said any member who wants to write something that goes against the party line should stand outside the party and pursue it.
He said the party in a resolution in 2005 (after Advani's Pakistan trip) had made its position clear on Jinnah that he was the principal architect of the partition.
On the ban placed by Gujarat government on Singh's book 'Jinnah- India, Partition, Independence', he said it was within the power of the state government to take such decisions.
Asked whether Jaswant Singh's views on Jinnah that led to his expulsion or was it the views on Patel that contributed to it, Jaitley "it is accumulative effect of both."
"Sardar Patel's contribution to unification of India can be undermined by none," he said.
On the timing of expulsion, Jaitley said a day after the book was released, Rajnath Singh had issued a statement dissociating party from the views expressed by Singh.
It was only on Wednesday that all the members of the Parliamentary Board met and the action was decided, he said.
"There is no question of personal differences. It is rather an issue of ideological differences associated with discipline in the party," Jaitley said.
However, Jaitley denied existence of any internal report on BJP's poll debacle. " No such report has been introduced or tabled at the Chintan Baithak. There is no Bal Apte report or a report of this nature by any BJP leader," he said.
Jaitley's reaction was in response to TV channels' reports that it had access to an internal report that squarely indicts and blames senior party leader L K Advani, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and Jaitley as chief election manager for the BJP's poll debacle.
(With ANI inputs)