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BJP worried over Jaswant-Raje rift

Central BJP leaders are worried that differences between Jaswant Singh and Vasundhara Raje have taken a serious turn, reports Shekhar Iyer.

india Updated: Nov 06, 2007 04:14 IST
Shekhar Iyer
Shekhar Iyer
Hindustan Times

Central BJP leaders are worried that differences between Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Jaswant Singh and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje have taken a serious turn, with a Jodhpur special court ordering that a case be filed against Jaswant for allegedly serving opium at a gathering in his house.

The BJP came to his defence saying there was no truth in the allegation and his son said it was aimed at discrediting his family. Jaswant discussed the matter with LK Advani.

He believes that loyalists close to Raje were behind the allegations. Many dissident BJP leaders, some of them ministers, had turned up at the gathering at Jaswant’s ancestral village of Jasol. A few days ago, the leaders had boycotted a meeting addressed by Advani and Rajnath Singh.

Central BJP leaders have been working on a plan to douse the rebel fire — by changing the BJP setup in Rajasthan while allowing Raje to drop the ministers who have been defying her. But the rebel ministers have sought the intervention of the RSS to prevent action against them.

“I believe the allegation has no truth. However, an investigation has been ordered and truth will prevail,” said BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy.

Asked how the BJP was sure that the charges against Jaswant were false, Rudy said “that is exactly what has been told to us by Jaswant Singh”.

Jaswant’s son, Manvendra, a Lok Sabha MP, denied that opium was served at the party. “No, there was no drug served. We had organised a riyan that we were planning for a long time,” he said.

Asked if somebody was targeting his family, he said: “There is certainly an objective. It (the story) is coming from those who are totally oblivious of the ground realities in Rajasthan.”

First Published: Nov 06, 2007 04:09 IST