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Updated: August 28, 2009 20:57 IST

Advani was at centre of ‘cash-for-vote drama’, says Jaswant

PTI
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BJP MPs show wads of currency, allegedly given to them to switch sides, during the special session of the the Lok Sabha on July 22, 2008. File photo: PTI/Lok Sabha TV
BJP MPs show wads of currency, allegedly given to them to switch sides, during the special session of the the Lok Sabha on July 22, 2008. File photo: PTI/Lok Sabha TV

Firing a fresh salvo, Jaswant Singh has said that senior BJP leader L.K. Advani was “at the centre of the cash-for-votes scam drama” in the Lok Sabha last year.

“It’s a great sense of pity. Here was a man who was consumed by an ambition to be Prime Minister, and that desire made him commit so many mistakes.

“Do you know this whole wretched thing of money for votes is a classic example of wrong decision making and it’s extremely troubling that he did not stand up and say no. Advaniji was at the centre of this whole drama,” he told Outlook magazine.

Mr. Singh was referring to the episode in the Lok Sabha during the Trust Vote in July 2008 when three BJP MPs displayed bundles of currency notes totalling Rs 1 crore claiming they were being offered as bribe to support the government.

Mr. Singh said the facts were clear and he stumbled on to the whole thing when a very strange looking fellow was brought to his house by Sudheendra Kulkarni, a former aide of Mr. Advani.

“I was not consulted but I was appalled that Advaniji was giving the MPs the go ahead to display money in Parliament,” he said adding that Mr. Advani had two choices — either to take the money to the Speaker or into the House. But he told the MPs to display the money in Parliament.

Mr. Singh said it was a matter of great sadness that Mr. Advani had singularly failed in his function as a leader to lead. A leader will have to lead by example and not through diktats, vague and unspecified insinuations and fears.

Citing the example of the army where leaders take responsibility, he said there were numerous examples when Mr. Advani would either keep quite or transfer responsibility to somebody else on occasions that troubled him and where he is likely to come under fire. “That is not the trait of a leader.”

On Arun Shourie’s description of Rajnath Singh as a Humpty Dumpty, Mr. Singh said the BJP president was a provincial leader who should never have been pushed up.

On BJP, he said “this is no longer a political party. It is a cult or a sect. It has been reduced to the proprietary partnership of a few. This has come about under the leadership of Advani. To explain superficially, the 116 BJP MPs today are like lost waifs.”

The former External Affairs and Defence Minister said he did not support the decisions like banning of overflights to Pakistan and deployment of troops during ‘Operation Parakram’ when he was away on some visit.

He said he was also greatly distressed when the BSF was sent into Bangladesh and a “wounding photograph” of the body of a BSF soldier being carried slunge on a bamboo appeared in the media.

“I never really was able to illicit an answer as to who ordered the BSF to go into Bangladesh. Is it not the Home Ministry,” he said.

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