New Delhi: Sticking to his contention in his new book that Mohammad Ali Jinnah was a “great man” who has been “demonised” in India, Jaswant Singh has said his expulsion from BJP showed that the party was “narrow-minded”.
The expelled BJP leader said the party did not distinguish between Jinnah’s personal attributes as a human being and his politics while taking a decision to sack him from the party for writing the book ‘Jinnah: India, Partition, Independence´.
“I didn’t think the party is so narrow-minded...so nervous about Jinnah and Patel and to get so railed at what I have written. I have a feeling, which I voiced also, that perhaps my former colleagues had not really read the book when they passed the sentence,” he told Karan Thapar on ‘Devil’s Advocate´ programme of CNN-IBN.
When asked whether he denigrated Vallabhai Patel in his book, Singh said: “I have simply pointed out facts of history. I haven’t denigrated any icon.”
The former BJP leader said he would have felt better if the party had not used the word “expel” and informed him in person.
“I wish they had not used the word expel. They had better choice of phrases. It hurt me when no one personally came and conveyed the decision. Even Advani has not called me,” Singh said.
Asked whether Advani had called him after the expulsion, Singh said: “No. But it doesn’t matter now and its too late.”
Singh said after informing him about his expulsion, BJP president Rajnath Singh had said they would discuss the issue some other time which never happened.
Asked whether he thinks that the BJP took the decision to expel him only after party leaders read the book, he said: “No. I don’t believe that because that is not practical... its quite a feat in speed reading if you have read 700 pages. I don’t believe my prose is a fiction. It is not easy and it requires attention. It would be a remarkable feat.”
Asked whether he deliberately missed events such as Pathan tribal invasion of Kashmir in September 1947, which led to war with Pakistan, Jaswant said, “I didn’t overlook it because the book deals with partition.
“The subject (Pathan invasion) is a separate one, it is a subject that is altogether a subject. I have also pointed out the great killings of Calcutta in vivid detail. I didn’t overlook the mistakes of his (Jinnah’s) public life.”
Singh said it would have taken a separate book if he had written about other aspects relating to Jinnah.
Rejecting criticism that he had exculpated Jinnah of the charge of launching a war against India, Singh said he had not done so.
“Distinction has to be made between personal attributes and public conduct. These are two very different things,” he said.