Shimla, Aug 21: Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj, on Friday, Aug 21, indirectly hinted that former Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje could be removed from the party on grounds of indiscipline.
Without directly confirming plans to remove Raje, Swaraj alluded at a press conference that, "The BJP has removed the party's state level leadership in those states where it performed poorly in the (state and general) elections."
In this context, she also gave the examples of BC Khanduri who was replaced as the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand by Ramesh Pokhriyal, Om Mathur who was replaced by Arun Chaturvedi as the BJP's Rajasthan unit president.
Swaraj also justified the expulsion of Jaswant Singh from the party, saying it was necessary to restore and maintain the party's ideological stance.
She told reporters that Jaswant Singh, as a political leader with over three decades of experience, had deliberately sought to denigrate India's first Home Minister Sardar Vallabhai Patel and his achievements and had showered wholesome praise on Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the Founder of Pakistan in his latest book "Jinnah India Partition Independence".
"It was very difficult, but necessary to expel Jaswant Singh. It was a very tough decision to remove a colleague of last thirty years," she said.
Countering Jaswant Singh's statement of Thursday, Aug 20, evening that Patel was the country's first Home Minister to ban the BJP's parent organization - the Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh (RSS) shortly after the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi in January 1948, Swaraj said, "It was (Jawaharlal) Nehru's intention to ban the RSS, and not Patel's."
She also emphasized that coalition politics in India was here to stay to fight the "hegemony" of the Congress party.
Historically, she said that Shyama Prasad Moorkerjee, was the first person to initiate coalition politics in the country with the formation of the Jana Sangh in the 1950s. The aim then was to counter the Congress, and that tradition continues, she said.