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Jaswant's expulsion puts BJP in quandary

By A Correspondent in New Delhi
Last updated on: August 19, 2009 16:54 IST
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Jaswant Singh's expulsion from the the Bharatiya Janata Party has caused further embarassment for the party as
Speaker Meira Kumar had just appointed Singh as chairman of the prestigious Public Accounts Committee of the Lok Sabha. 

The BJP is in a quandary as it cannot withdraw Singh's name. The announcement of Jaswant Singh as chairman of the PAC is already posted on the Lok Sabha website. This matter can be resolved if Jaswant Singh resigns as chairman of the PAC or from his Lok Sabha membership.

The chairmanship of the PAC is a prestigious one. As chairman of the PAC, Singh's presence will be a source of constant embarassment for the BJP, particularly when the committee submits its annual report. BJP leaders Yashwant Sinha, Gopinath Munde and Shanta Kumar, who also serve on this committee, may have to report to Jaswant Singh.

The BJP had offered the chairmanship to Jaswant Singh, as he was keen to have chambers in Parliament. Soon after Lok Sabha election results, Singh was keen on becoming the Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha, as that position would gives him the right to retain a government bungalow and be allotted a chamber inside Parliament House.

Once Singh's expulsion from the party is formally conveyed to the Speaker, his division number and seat in the front row will automatically be withdrawn.
This is the first time that such a senior parlimentarian has been expelled and his seating will  be reallocated, said a staff member of the Lok Sabha secretariat.

The division number is provided by the Speaker according to the seniority and position in the ruling or opposition parties. It is considered prestigious to have a seat in the first row as the Speaker's attention is easily attracted during Question Hour or debates.

The leader of BJP writes to the Speaker to allot seats to the seniormost MPs in the first row. In this case Advani has consented to allot fourth seat in the first row of opposition benches to Singh.The opposition first row consisted of Deputy Speaker Karia Munda, Leader of the Opposition L K Advani, deputy leader of the opposition, Sushma Swaraj, Dr Murli Manohar Joshi, and Jaswant Singh.

Buy Jaswant Singh's book Jinnah India Partition Independence

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A Correspondent in New Delhi