BJP President Nitin Gadkari has termed as “closed” the issue of Jaswant Singh’s book praising Pakistan founder M. A. Jinnah and said return of leaders like him will strengthen the party.
“To add people to the party is going to strengthen it...It is a good thing for the party,” Mr. Gadkari said when asked about return of leaders like Jaswant Singh and Ram Jethmalani to BJP.
On the former defence minister not apologising for writing the book praising Jinnah which had led to his expulsion ten months ago, Mr. Gadkari said, “These are old issues. The issue is closed. Apart from the views, he is loyal to the party. As a person, Jaswant Singh is a good man. He is a senior and experienced leader. At the time of foundation of the party, he was there. I respect him. Apart from his book, he is loyal to the party,” Mr. Gadkari said in an interview to Karan Thapar for CNN-IBN.
Mr. Gadkari maintained that in a democratic party, every leader has the right to have different opinions.
“A big political party is a group of big political leaders. Everyone has some independent and different opinions. It never happens that 100 per cent opinions are same. There may be some opinions that Jaswant Singh may have which I may not agree with. But, in the larger interest as far as BJP is concerned, I feel he is loyal to the party, is a very respectable leader, that is why I approached him,” he said.
He claimed eminent lawyer Jethmalani, who recently won a Rajya Sabha seat from Rajasthan as a BJP candidate, had apologised for certain remarks made by him against former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee before he was taken back.
“He cleared the things....before coming to BJP he cleared the things that those comments (against Vajpayee) were not good. That he is sorry for it,” Mr. Gadkari said.
The party president said the chapter is closed and BJP as well as Vajpayee’s family were satisfied with Mr. Jethmalani’s explanation.