He has also made it clear that the party will have to suffer the consequences of internal strife coming to the fore ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. Back channel efforts were underway to bring him around, BJP sources said, but the veteran leader showed no signs of relenting. (JPN/Agencies)
Training his guns on BJP president Rajnath Singh who said the 76-year-old leader's services will be utilized appropriately, Jaswant Singh retorted, "I am not a piece of furniture. The choice of the adjective 'adjust' itself is indicative of the mentality. You cannot adjust with principles and it is insulting".
Slamming the BJP president's remarks that the party will compensate him after the elections, Singh said, "I reject the thought and I reject the mentality behind it. Assumption is that they shall form the government and offer me some throttle. They can keep it for themselves".
Jaswant Singh is, however, not resigning from the party yet and said he would consult his colleagues before taking that decision. "Yes, I am filing my nomination papers tomorrow from Barmer. Independent or not, will depend on the party's attitude," he said when asked whether he would contest despite denial of a ticket from his home constituency.
On the specific query about his resignation in the wake of his 48-hour deadline to the BJP, the party stalwart said, "I will speak about this after consulting my colleagues and others in Barmer and then take a decision."
"If I am not emotional about my home and my political party, then what am I going to be emotional about...If the party decides to talk to me, they know my numbers and how I can be reached. Since I came here, nobody has tried to reach me," he said on Sunday, putting the onus of preventing his exit on the BJP.
In indications that that there will be no reversal of decision, party leader Arun Jaitley said when a senior leader is not accommodated for some reasons, that is when his discipline and political loyalty are to be tested.
"He must accept the decision with a smile. This becomes a test of his loyalty and discipline. Restraint and silence are always a preferred option. Over-reaction may prove be a transient storm in a tea cup. Silence is always dignified and more gracious," Jaitley said.
When contacted, party spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi said, "Jaswant Singh is a senior party leader and has a lot of contribution to the party. The party will like to use his experience. The contribution and respect the party has for him cannot be weighed against one ticket."
"We are hopeful that he will not take any drastic step considering his seniority and maturity," he said. Asked about Jaswant Singh's decision to contest independently from Barmer, BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu sought to downplay the issue.
"He did not get a ticket and because of that anger he might have said something. I wish Jaswantji does not do anything like that. Party has always respected him. Party sent him to Rajya Sabha. Party has made him Finance Minister. Party has made him External Affairs Minister. So, there is no question of sidelining him," Naidu said in Chennai.
"I respect Jaswant Singh. I do not want to join issue with him. And secondly, if somebody does not get a ticket and makes such a statement, it is understandable," he said. In Delhi, Congress leader Kapil Sibal when asked about the Jaswant Singh row, said Narendra Modi has "takenover" BJP but his prime ministerial ambitions will not be realised as he has to get the backing of 120 crore Indians.
Meanwhile Manvendra Singh, Jaswant Singh's son, who is currently an MLA in the Vasundhara Raje-led government in Rajasthan, has also indicated that he might follow in his father's footsteps. When contacted, Manvendra said that he was "extremely stressed out" and was resting. Rejecting reports that he has written to the BJP about the current situation, he said, "I have not written to the party and I have informed the party that I am stressed out and need some rest."
BJP sources said that Manvendra has sought a month's off to rest and is unlikely to attend the party meetings in Rajasthan for the preparations and campaigning during the Lok Sabha polls.
Jaswant Singh had on Saturday attacked the BJP leadership for denying him party ticket and said one needs to distinguish between the "real" and the "fake" BJP. He also alleged that the party has been taken over by "outsiders".
He has been demanding a party ticket from his home constituency of Barmer, saying this is his last election. He represented the Darjeeling constituency in the outgoing Lok Sabha, from where the party has nominated former Rajya Sabha member SS Ahluwalia. Singh was a senior Minister in the Atal Behari Vajpayee-led NDA government in which he held important portfolios of External Affairs, Defence and Finance.
Senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj had on Saturday sparked a controversy saying the decision on Jaswant Singh's ticket was not taken at the party's Central Election Committee meeting and there must have been some reason for the "unusual" denial of ticket to him. She said she was "saddened" at Singh not being given a ticket.
He has also made it clear that the party will have to suffer the consequences of internal strife coming to the fore ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. Back channel efforts were underway to bring him around, BJP sources said, but the veteran leader showed no signs of relenting.