Barmer : Jaswant Singh looked a shattered person on Monday. Yet he managed to wear a smile as he filed his nomination papers for contesting as an Independent in Barmer Lok Sabha constituency, his home turf.
That he would contest as an Independent was apparent the instant the BJP indicated that it was fielding a Congress defector from the seat. But the bitterness on being denied the party ticket in what could be his last election came pouring out on Monday when he accused party president Rajnath Singh and Rajasthan’s Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje of betraying him.
Lashing out at Raje, he said that she had conspired to deny him the party ticket. ‘‘Not just Jaswant has been betrayed, rather the betrayal is of party ideology and principles,’’ he pointed out.
Even as the 76-year-old leader attacked both Singh and Raje, he made no mention of party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.
In 2009, party president Rajnath Singh had shunted him from the party like a “peon,” pointed out Jaswant Singh. He said he had made a mistake by joining the party for emotional reasons after his expulsion in 2009.
Incidentally, Jaswant Singh was inducted into the BJP by Vasundhara Raje’s mother Vijaya Raje Scindia. He prospered in the party because of the patronage of Atal Behari Vajpayee and the late Bhairon Singh Shekhawat. But Jaswant had a poor reputation of not nursing his constituency. He won the first Lok Sabha election in 1989 from Jodhpur and then won the Chittorgarh seat in 1991 and 1996. But he lost it in 1998 to an opium dealer mainly on account of the local resentment over his lack of constituency contact.
Jaswant Singh, who served nine terms in Parliament, was keen to contest from his home district and had shared this sentiment with LK Advani.