Barmer: Senior leader Jaswant Singh is likely to quit from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and contest as an Independent from his home town of Barmer in Rajasthan, sources say. Despite making it clear that he wanted to contest from Barmer as it would be his last Lok Sabha elections, the BJP gave him a ticket from Dahod in Gujarat.
A miffed Singh said that he would decide his next course of action on March 24 even as a rattled BJP leadership said that the party would find another another role for him. The veteran leader said, "There is a real and a fake BJP. I cannot decide which is which but the people will. I have fought for the real BJP till now."
Singh's supporters on Saturday targeted BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi in Barmer and tore up the campaign posters to protest against the denial of ticket to the senior leader who is currently a Lok Sabha MP from Darjeeling in West Bengal.
They burnt Modi's effigies at several places in Barmer. Several posters of Jaswant Singh have also been put up in Barmer. They also stormed the BJP office in Jaisalmer and shouted slogans saying they would not support Colonel Sona Ram Choudhary, the official BJP candidate for Barmer.
Senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley hinted that the BJP is unlikely to re-think its decision denying Jaswant Singh a ticket from Barmer as the party has also named Colonel Sona Ram Choudhury as its candidate from the constituency. "I regret that we were unable to accommodate a senior leader like Jaswant Singh. However, the party will make place for him in some other position," said Jaitley.
BJP President Rajnath Singh said that the party would utilise Jaswant Singh's experience. "Jaswant Singh is a very senior leader and the party values and respects him. BJP will utilise his experience to the fullest," he said.
Earlier, BJP patriarch Lal Krishna Advani too had expresssed his unhappiness over not being allowed to contest from Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh after he was given a ticket to contest from his traditional seat of Gandhinagar in Gujarat.
Advani later relented and agreed to contest from Gandhinagar but not before Modi, Sushma Swaraj and Venkaiah Naidu met and mollified him.