Special Correspondent

The Jinnah issue is a closed chapter for us: RSS spokesman

JAIPUR: The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has chosen to underplay senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Jaswant Singh's trip to Pakistan next week. Mr. Singh, who is leading a group of pilgrims to Hinglaj Mata temple in Baluchistan, is scheduled to pay a visit to the "mazar" of Mohammed Ali Jinnah in Karachi later.

"The Jinnah issue is a closed chapter for us," Ram Madhav, RSS spokesperson, who briefed media persons on the discussions on the first day of the joint "Chintan baitak" of the RSS and the BJP here, said on Tuesday. "The dispute is over," he said when newspersons enquired about Mr. Singh's absence from the two-day meeting and about his proposed visit to Pakistan crossing the western border.

Mr. Singh, along with his son Bhupendra Singh, who would be accompanying the pilgrims on foot to "Hinglaj Mata - one of the Shakti Peeths known as Bibi Nani Ma in Pakistan - was to coincide his trip to Pakistan with the re-introduction of the rail route between the two countries via Munabao in Rajasthan's Barmer district and Kokhrapar in Pakistan next week.

However, the exact date for the resumption of rail traffic - after a gap of 40 years - is yet to be finalised.

The Sangh spokesman, who said the invitations were sent to them as well, did not explain the absence of senior leaders Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Lal Kishen Advani. Senior political leaders in Rajasthan expressed surprise over the presence of those who were not well entrenched in Sangh ideology.