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RSS, BJP disagree with Jaswant's contention on Jinnah

By Onkar Singh in New Delhi
August 17, 2009 21:10 IST
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The Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh disapproved of senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Jaswant Singh's praise of Pakistan's founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah, while his own party appeared to distance itself from the remarks made in his new book. Though RSS and BJP leaders have reserved a structured response to Singh's book, 'Jinnah: India, Partition, Independence, they have voiced their differences with many opinions expressed by the senior leader in his book.

When asked if RSS agreed with Singh's view that Jinnah has been "demonised" in India, RSS leader Ram Madhav said, "I have only read excerpts of the book. But I am constrained to say that it is far from the truth to state that Jinnah was not responsible for partition." BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar refused to make any direct comment on Singh's book but made it clear that the party does not agree with the contention that Jinnah was not responsible for partition. "Singh's book is being published today. Let it be published and only then we will respond to it," he said. He, however, added that BJP stands by its June 2005 resolution on Jinnah, which holds him as one of the most important politicians responsible for the partition of India.

Abhishek Singvi, spokesman of the Congress slammed Singh and "the core group of Bhartiya Janata Party" for their alleged fascination with Mohammad Ali Jinnah and their project of him as a much malinged man.

"While the Jinnah ordered the massacre in Bengal, Mahamta Gandhi went to Bengal to apply balm to the victims," Singhvi said. Singhvi questioned how a person ,who had been external affairs minister, finance minister and a senior leader of the BJP could write a book, describing it as his private views.

During a visit to Pakistan in June 2005, senior BJP leader L K Advani was in the eye of a storm when he described Jinnah as "secular". Later, Advani had to step down from the post of party president. Singh's views on Jinnah in his book are not the only ones which are likely to stir a hornet's nest but also his remarks with regards to Muslims in the country. "We are in disagreement with many of Singh's conclusions, especially the one with regard to Muslims in India. He says Muslims here feel like aliens. We believe even a large number of Muslims in India do not subscribe to this view," Madhav said. When asked if RSS agreed with Singh that Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel were responsible for partition, Madhav said, "We will have to see in what context he is saying this."

The BJP too distanced itself from Singh's opinion on Patel. "We also don't agree with Singh's views in his book about Patel," a BJP MP said. BJP has always eulogised Patel for uniting Indian provinces under one flag.

Additional Reportage: PTI

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Onkar Singh in New Delhi