Former Gujarat minister Jaspal Singh rejoins BJP

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Vadodara, Nov 16 (UNI) Former Gujarat minister Jaspal Singh, who had quit BJP nearly six years ago spewing venom against Chief Minister Narendra Modi, has rejoined the party.

''I made a blunder by quitting the BJP in December, 2001. I repent for my hasty decision but I don't want to make another blunder,'' Mr Singh told UNI and asserted that he had great regard for the Chief Minister.

Mr Singh was elected to the Gujarat assembly for two terms and had served the state as Cabinet minister during Keshubhai Patel's regime, on both the occasions.

Before re-joining the party in the presence of state party vice-president K Vakhavala here yesterday, Mr Singh had earlier met Mr Modi and other Central leaders to pave the way for his return to the party fold.

Mr Singh, a former city police commissioner, had resigned from the primary membership of BJP and Sayajigunj Assembly seat in Vadodara in December, 2001 due to his non induction in the new ministry led by Mr Modi, on the grounds of ''indiscipline''.

Mr Singh's move necessitated a by-election to the Sayajigunj seat in February, 2002. But Mr Singh, who contested the by-election on a Samajwadi Party ticket in a bid to record his fourth consecutive victory from the seat, forfeited his deposit as he could muster only 4.54 per cent votes.

''I really fell into the trap of Samajwadi Party Chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and Amar Singh, who made a fool of me,'' Mr Singh said.

Incidentally, while quitting the party, he had declared that he was free from the BJP's slavery.

Following his humiliating defeat in the by-election, Mr Singh even filed a Rs 1 crore defamation suit against Mr Modi after the latter, in an election rally, alleged that Mr Singh was a frequent visitor to Pakistani High Commission in Delhi.

''I knew that there were certain weaknesses in the case and I lost the case in the Gujarat High Court a couple of years ago,'' he said.

Mr Singh also tried his luck in the subsequent December, 2002 Gujarat Assembly elections held on the background of Godhra train carnage by filing his nomination as a Samata Party candidate for Wadi seat. He suffered yet another humiliating defeat there.

Asked if he was interested to contest again from his traditional Sayajigunj constituency on a BJP ticket, Mr Singh said, ''I can do whatever task is given to me by the party.'' UNI

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