BJP veteran and former Union Minister Jaswant Singh passes away
Jaswant Singh, one of the longest-serving parliamentarians of India and a founding member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), passed away at the age of 82, reports said on Sunday. A retired Army officer, Singh handled portfolios like Defense, External Affairs, and Finance when BJP was in power. His demise was condoled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other BJP members.
Induction into Jan Sangh emboldened Barmer-born Singh's political career
Born in Rajasthan's Barmer, Singh entered politics in the late 60s, but his career didn't take off until he became a member of Jan Sangh. In 1980, he became a Rajya Sabha member; served as Finance Minister in late PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee's short-lived regime from May 1996 to June 1996. He was EAM from 1998 to 2002, when Vajpayee returned to power.
Vajpayee trusted Singh to mend ties with US
In Vajpayee's regime, Singh was the Defense Minister from January 2, 2000, to October 18, 2001. He was known for his efficiency in foreign policies. After the nuclear tests, Vajpayee tasked him with having a dialogue with the US. Later, Singh found himself sidelined within the party after he allegedly praised Pakistan's founder Jinnah in his book. He was denied ticket for the 2014 polls.
In 2018, Singh's son broke ranks with BJP, joined Congress
Though Singh remained in the shadows for the most part of the decade, his son Manvendra Singh's displeasure with BJP catapulted him in headlines in 2018. Singh Jr. said his father was disrespected by BJP and he, ignored by the top brass. Ahead of the Rajasthan Assembly polls, Singh Jr. jumped ships, joined Congress, was pitted against ex-Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, and lost.
He will be remembered for unique perspective: PM Modi
Sharing the news of Singh's demise on Twitter, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh wrote, "Shri Jaswant Singh Ji would be remembered for his intellectual capabilities and a stellar record in service to the nation. He also played a key role in strengthening the BJP in Rajasthan. (sic)" PM Modi said Singh will be remembered for "his unique perspective on matters of politics and society."