Jaswant Singh returns to BJP, thanks Advani (Second Lead)

June 24th, 2010 - 8:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, June 24 (IANS) Former external affairs minister Jaswant Singh returned to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Thursday - ten months after his expulsion for writing a book praising Pakistan founder Mohd Ali Jinnah. Terming it great to be back, he credited party veteran L.K. Advani for his homecoming.
Addressing Advani as “Lalji”, Singh said that the senior BJP leader had telephoned him for a meeting some months back and they met and talked.

“Its good to be back in a familiar surrounding among familiar faces,” he told media persons at the party headquarters here.

At the time of his expulsion, Singh had lashed out at Advani, holding him partly responsible for the decision and not defending him in BJP meeting which took a decision to expel him. He had also attacked Advani on the Kandahar episode saying he was privy to the decision to free terrorists in exchange of hostages.

Advani, however, had said about a month after Singh’s expulsion in August last year that he was not in agreement with the decision.

However, Singh praised Advani effusively Thursday.

“When I met him, I experienced much more gratitude, generosity and graciousness compared to the humiliation I experienced when I was expelled from the party. He asked me to come back and consider the chapter as closed,” he said.

Not wishing to touch the past controversies on the day he re-joined BJP, Singh said: “The yesterday spent gets over.”

Singh, the MP from Darjeeling, said that he had been in public life for 44 years and had taken premature retirement from the Army as he felt that the policies pursued by the then Congress government were not in the interest of the country.

“I continue to hold that point firmly. BJP is one of the two poles of national polity and it is imperative to strengthen it. I am committed to doing whatever I can for the national good,” Singh said.

He said that Nitin Gadkari had called him after his appointment as BJP president seeking his blessings and gave him a lot of respect. Singh said he told him that he was not in a position to give blessings.

Welcoming Singh back to the party fold, Advani said: “It’s a matter of happiness and sense of relief that he is back in the party. I welcome him and I am confident that with his support the party will be further strengthened.”

Gadkari said what has happened is past and “we should live in the present”. The BJP chief appointed Singh as a special invitee to the party’s national executive and hoped that the party will keep getting his guidance.

An indication of his return to the party came last month when Singh praised Advani for his gesture of offering to take him in plane for the last rites of former vice president Bhairon Singh Shekhawat. Singh had also said that he could not get BJP out of his blood-stream.

BJP sources said party president Nitin Gadkari went to Singh’s residence to bring him to the party office.

Singh’s son Manvendra Singh, a former MP and his daughter-in-law were present in the party office.

No questions were taken by the BJP leaders at the function to mark Singh’s re-entry and the party did not give its viewpoint on the controversial book on Jinnah.

BJP leader in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, party deputy leader in Rajya Sabha S.S. Ahluwalia, and BJP chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad were among those present.

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