Barmer: Rebel BJP leader Jaswant Singh, who filed nomination papers as an Independent candidate from Barmer in Rajasthan on Monday, hit out at the BJP top brass for claiming that he felt betrayed by them.
"I feel very sad on being betrayed by a few people in the BJP. I suggested Vasundhara Raje for (Rajasthan) Chief Minister, Rajnath Singh for BJP president. They have betrayed me," he said.
The embittered leader warned that the constant chanting of 'NaMo' will ruin the party. "This NaMo, NaMo drama and the style of decision-making will be destructive for the party," he said.
Jaswant also said that he repented re-joining the party after he was expelled over his book on Mohammad Ali Jinnah.
"I was unceremoniously ousted from the party without any intimation. Gadkari and Advani had asked me to join the party back but my family was not keen. Not even a peon is treated the way as I was," Jaswant said. He, however, said that he will leave the decision on his continuing within the party to the leadership. "It is for the BJP to decide whether I am going to continue in the party," he said.
"I have been an MP for nine terms and had told the BJP that these would be my last elections. I gave options for three constituencies to the party and my first preference was Barmer. But on March 19, I was suddenly informed that my name was not on the list and the ticket was given to someone who had crossed over from the Congress," the 76-year-old said, referring to Colonel Sona Ram Choudhary, who quit the Congress and joined the BJP three days ago.
"This isn't my betrayal. It's the BJP workers who have been betrayed," Jaswant said.
Colonel Choudhary enjoys the support of Raje and was offered the ticket the same day he joined the party despite stiff opposition from Jaswant. Jaswant had insisted on fighting from Barmer saying that he wanted to return to his hometown as this would be his last Lok Sabha election.
The BJP, however, denied him a ticket and instead asked him to contest from Dahod in Gujarat.
"We are still hopeful that Jaswant Singh will remain with us. We are indebted to his contribution," BJP spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi said.