On an attacking spree since his expulsion from the BJP, Jaswant Singh has now said former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was so upset over the 2002 Gujarat riots that he had contemplated resigning. But he stopped Vajpayee from doing so.
The former PM had wanted to take action against chief minister Narendra Modi, but was stopped by L.K. Advani, Singh said in an interview to Shekhar Gupta on NDTV’s ‘Walk the Talk’.
Vajpayee was “disturbed” and wrote down his resignation letter in his office in Parliament. “Parliament was in session,” Singh said.
“He (Vajpayee) pulled a piece of paper and he started writing his resignation by hand. I held his hand and he looked at me severely and I said, ‘What are you doing. Don’t do this.’ …somehow I persuaded him. We went to his house. We were able to defuse the situation.”
Advani stopped Vajpayee from taking action against Modi over the riots on the ground that it could trigger an uproar in the party.
Singh said Vajpayee, Advani, Arun Shourie and he were flying to Goa for a BJP meeting when the conversation relating to the Gujarat CM took place.
“He (Vajpayee) asked, ‘Gujarat ka kya karna hai (What should be done about Gujarat)?” said Singh. “...there was silence for some time. He then said, ‘Gujarat ke bare mein sochna chahiye.’ Then Advaniji went towards the bathroom... Atalji said, ‘Poochhiye fir kya karna hai (Ask him then what should be done)?’”
“I went and asked Advaniji, who just said one phrase: ‘Bawaal khada ho jayega party mein (There’ll be an uproar in the party,’” said Singh.
Reacting to this latest salvo, senior BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu questioned how anyone could believe what Singh was now saying on the issue when he had himself admitted he did not tell the whole truth earlier. “Vajpayee was disturbed by the Gujarat riots but never contemplated quitting as PM,” said Naidu.
Singh also released the letter he sent to BJP’s top leaders on June 9, attacking Advani’s decision to appoint Arun Jaitely as leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha.
“When the top leadership (Advani) can accept responsibility (for poor showing in the elections), why not us or those managing the party affairs (Rajnath Singh and Jaitley),” said Singh. “Is there no link between rewards and results? Or do we claim credit for success and lay the blame for failure at others’ door?”
This letter had been ‘leaked’ to the media on June 10 as the BJP core group’s meeting got over. It also set the stage for Singh’s expulsion.‘