Jodhpur, 23 March-2014(IANS): Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Jaswant Singh, tipped to contest the Lok Sabha polls as an independent after being denied party ticket, on Sunday got a hero’s welcome from his supporters. Boisterous supporters of the BJP MP from Darjeeling received him warmly as he left Jodhpur by road for his village Jasol in Barmer district in Rajasthan.
Rebel saffron Leader Jaswant Singh gets hero’s welcome from supporters
“He was garlanded at various places. He also addressed his supporters at many places and told them to keep this enthusiasm going till the day of voting,” Ram Singh, one of his supporters, told IANS.
In hard hitting comments, Jaswant Singh said on Saturday that the BJP was being taken over by “outsiders” and that there was a need to distinguish between the “real” and “fake” BJP.
Informed sources said on Sunday that the former external affairs minister may quit the BJP soon even as party leaders made efforts to mollify him.
Jaswant Singh is slated to visit Barmer by Monday when he is expected to file his nomination paper as an independent candidate.
“Everything will be decided after I reach Barmer,” he told journalists.
Jaswant Singh represented Darjeeling in the outgoing Lok Sabha. The BJP has now fielded S.S. Ahluwalia, formerly of the Congress, from there now.
He wanted to contest from Barmer but the party fielded Colonel Sonaram, who recently joined the BJP after quitting the Congress.
Following protests from BJP workers against the denial of ticket to Jaswant Singh, a meeting was held at the house of his son as well as BJP legislator Manvendra Singh on Friday night.
Some party workers took out a protest rally and burnt effigies of Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, holding her responsible for the denial of ticket to Jaswant Singh.
They also shouted slogans against her.
“Colonel Sonaram was with Congress for years. Now he has switched loyalties. Fielding him immediately after joining the BJP has sent a wrong message to the voters,” said a local BJP leader.
Meanwhile, BJP leader Arun Jaitley on Sunday said he should accept the party’s ‘no’ with a smile after being showered with privileges and positions and that his loyalty is at test.
Jaitley’s apparent criticism of Jaswant’s move to contest as an Independent comes a day after his party colleague Sushma Swaraj said she was “pained” at the denial of ticket to Singh, which highlighted the differences in the party at the top.
“Membership of political party is a privilege. It is also an act of self oppression where personal views and ambitions are subjected to collective wisdom of the party. At times, the party may flood leaders with privileges and positions. On other occasions, the leader may have to take ‘no’ as an answer to his desires,” Jaitley wrote on his website.
He said the politician or leader denied a ticket must accept the decision with a “smile”.
Jaitley, contesting from Amritsar seat (in Punjab), said in election season, many political persons desirous of being candidates succeed in getting a party nomination, but many more get left out.