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Upset over denial of ticket, Jaswant Singh likely to quit BJP

Last updated on: March 22, 2014 17:27 IST

Angry over denial of ticket to him in the Lok Sabha elections, Jaswant Singh on Saturday attacked the Bharatiya Janata Party leadership, saying there was need to differentiate between "real" and "fake" BJP as whatever was happening in the party now was not in line with its ideology.

The 76-year-old leader, who currently represents Darjeeling in Lok Sabha, maintained suspense over whether he would contest an an independent from Barmer seat which has been given by BJP to recent entrant from Congress Sonaram Choudhry. He is likely to announce his decision in Barmer on March 24.

"We have to differentiate between the real and fake BJP. What is happening now is the difference between real and fake. One has to reflect upon the principles for which the party stood and the direction in which it is being led now," he told media persons.

Singh, one of the founders of BJP, said it was important for the subscribers of the philosophy of BJP to know who has "encroached and what are their gains", in an attack on the leadership without taking names.

The former Union Minister is considered close to party veteran L K Advani and there is speculation that Narendra Modi backed Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhra Raje's stand on the issue of Barmer ticket.

"The party has done this to me twice now and now there is no chance of accepting any alternative proposal," he said in comments that came as party President Rajnath Singh and senior leader Arun Jaitley spoke of utilising Singh's services in an appropriate manner.

He recalled the contributions of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and L K Advani in building the party and wondered where the party is going now.

A close associate of Vajpayee as well as Advani, whose influence has also waned in the party, he said it is important for the subscribers of the philosophy of BJP to know who has "encroached" on it.

"They should ask where the party is going."

Singh, who would be reaching Barmer on Sunday, refused to disclose his plans on whether he would be filing his nomination as an independent.

"Everything will be decided only after I reach Barmer and have a discussion with my supporters," he said.

Referring to the denial of ticket to him and the "disregarding" of other senior leaders in the party, Singh said that "this party of ideology is tragically being encroached upon by those, who have been arch detractors of BJP’s ideology."

"It is so unfortunate that the BJP has been completely taken over by the elements (outsiders), who never have any respect for party's ideology", he said.

Opposing giving tickets to those who have recently joined the party either as defectors or as new entrants in politics, Singh remarked sarcastically that "for them it is easy have a BJP ticket than to have a rail or a flight."

His earlier three terms in Lok Sabha have been from Jodhpur, Chittorgarh (Rajasthan) and Darjeeling (West Bengal).

Singh turned emotional as he spoke of his "pain" but made it clear that he does not want to do the "politics" of emotions.

Image: Senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh wanted to contest from Barmer