BJP leader Jaswant Singh, tipped to contest the Lok Sabha polls as an independent after being denied party ticket, Sunday got a hero's welcome from his supporters.
Boisterous supporters of the BJP MP from Darjeeling received him warmly as he left Jodhpur by road for his village Jasol in Barmer district in Rajasthan.
"He was garlanded at various places. He also addressed his supporters at many places and told them to keep this enthusiasm going till the day of voting," Ram Singh, one of his supporters, told IANS.
In hard hitting comments, Jaswant Singh said Saturday that the Bharatiya Janata Party was being taken over by "outsiders" and that there was a need to distinguish between the "real" and "fake" BJP.
Informed sources said Sunday that the former external affairs minister may quit the BJP soon even as party leaders made efforts to mollify him.
Jaswant Singh is slated to visit Barmer by Monday when he is expected to file his nomination paper as an independent candidate. "Everything will be decided after I reach Barmer," he told journalists.
Jaswant Singh represented Darjeeling in the outgoing Lok Sabha. The BJP has now fielded S.S. Ahluwalia, formerly of the Congress, from there now.
He wanted to contest from Barmer but the party fielded Col. Sonaram, who recently joined the BJP after quitting the Congress.
Following protests from BJP workers against the denial of ticket to Jaswant Singh, a meeting was held at the house of his son as well as BJP legislator Manvendra Singh Friday night.
Some party workers took out a protest rally and burnt effigies of Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, holding her responsible for the denial of ticket to Jaswant Singh.
They also shouted slogans against her.
"Col. Sonaram was with Congress for years. Now he has switched loyalties. Fielding him immediately after joining the BJP has sent a wrong message to the voters," said a local BJP leader.