Even as the expelled Bharatiya Janata Party leader, Jaswant Singh, continued to deliver blows to his former party and its leadership here on Friday, party president Rajnath Singh said in Shimla that L.K. Advani would continue to be the party’s leader, and would do so for the next “50 to 100 years.”
Asked whether Mr. Advani would continue as the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Rajnath Singh said he would. Would he be in that position for the next five years, he was asked. “Why five years, why not 50 or 100 years?”
In Delhi, Mr. Jaswant Singh took on Mr. Advani for his earlier assertion that he did not know about the National Democratic Alliance’s decision to send the then Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh to Kandahar with three hardcore terrorists released by India in exchange for the passengers of the hijacked airplane.
In an interview to the NDTV, he said it was a Cabinet decision. Mr. Advani knew it and, as the then Home Minister, he was involved in releasing the terrorists. He asked what Mr. Advani’s role was when the hijacked plane was parked at the Amritsar airport for a full 35 minutes.
Mr. Jaswant Singh had not spoken earlier on this subject for he had “covered up” for Mr. Advani through a sense of commitment and loyalty.
At the conclusion of the party’s three-day ‘chintan baithak’ in Shimla, Mr. Rajnath Singh asserted that there would be no dilution of Hindutva. The party remained committed to the “political thought and ideology with which it had begun its political journey first as the Jana Sangh and then the BJP.” This, he added, was “non-negotiable.”
Earlier in the day, Sushma Swaraj described Mr. Jaswant Singh’s expulsion as “sad and painful but necessary.”
She reiterated the charge — this time quoting Mr. Advani — that Mr. Singh had “insulted Sardar Patel [India’s first Home Minister] and simultaneously shown Jinnah [Pakistan founder] to be great.”