Now, Maneka Gandhi terms Jaswant Singh's expulsion as unfair

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New Delhi, Aug.29 (ANI): BJP Member of Parliament from the Aonla constituency in Uttar Pradesh, Maneka Gandhi, on Saturday extended her support to expelled party leader Jaswant Singh, saying that the party leadership had treated him unfairly with regard to his latest book on Jinnah.

Gandhi said that the decision taken at the Chintan Baithak in Shimla last week was uncalled for. She said that the BJP leadership should have read Jaswant Singh's book first before taking a decision to expel him on disciplinary grounds.

Gandhi's reaction came a day after Singh filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the Gujarat Government's decision to ban his latest book - Jinnah -India, Partition, Independence.

Deploring the ban of the book, Singh has already said that books are a medium of expression in the country, and professed the right to freedom of speech and expression.

He claimed that a ban on books actually means a ban on thinking.

"I am greatly saddened by it because the other example takes you to Salman Rusdie and Satanic Verses. The day we start banning books in India, we are banning thinking," Jaswant had said while returning back from Shimla after his expulsion from the BJP last week.

The Narendra Modi-led Gujarat Government had banned the sale of Singh''''s book in the State last week.

The Gujarat Government blamed Jaswant''''s book for denigrating the image of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who was a Gujarati and held in high esteem by people across Gujarat and rest of the India for his role during India''''s freedom struggle against the British rulers.

Jaswant observes in his book that Nehru and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel together conceded Pakistan to Jinnah with help from the British.

Patel occupies a pride of place in BJP''''s historiography with the party eulogising his tough action for the integration of rebellious Hyderabad and Junagarh with the Union, and contrasting it with the Nehru''''s "blunder" in taking the Kashmir issue to the UN.

Last week, Singh sharpened his attack on BJP by saying that the party is like the violent white American group, Ku Klux Klan (KKK).

Replying to a question on his expulsion from the party, Singh said: "Please don''t ask me. I am outside the magic circle of advisers or thinkers. Because, I am not from the RSS, is that why? So are we a political party? Is the BJP becoming some kind of an Indian version of Ku Klux Klan?"

Commonly known as The Klan, the KKK was the name of several hate groups in the US, whose aim was to protect and further the rights of white Americans by intimidation.

On being asked what he meant by reference to KKK, he shot back: "You know what the Klan means. You don''t ask me about this."

On BJP senior leader's position in the party, he said: "Does he (Advani) run a coterie or does the coterie run him."

Singh said he did not agree with BJP leader Arun Shourie''s suggestion that RSS should take over the party, saying it will not work.

"I would like the BJP to reflect on what has happened and try to be a party of the 21st century. They (RSS) are exclusivist. Besides, they are an organisation committed to social work," he said.

Asked if his expulsion was a message to other dissidents in the party, he shot back: "Am I a dissident. I am sorry. Your question suggests I am some kind of a dissident. I feel I am one of the original-founding members of the party."

He ruled out joining the Samajwadi Party, which has invited him to join it.

"I am happy to be an independent. I will serve the cause of GJM and the Gorkha land. That is my karma bhoomi and my janam bhoomi is the desert. I shall serve them," he said.

He also ruled out stepping down as Chairman of the prestigious Parliamentary Accounts Committee following his expulsion from the BJP. (ANI)

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