Jaswanth Singh, one of the founding members of BJP served the nation in the positions of Finance Minister and External Affairs Minister. Not only that, he served as an opposition leader, where he constructively questioned the then ruling party.
He was born on 3rd January 1938 in Jasol Barmer District Rajasthan. His father, Thakur Sardarsingh Rathore, and mother Kumwar Baisa. Singh married Sheethal. He had two sons. One of them, Shri Manavendra Singh was also an MP and he is in Politics.
He was an alumnus of Mayo College and the National Defence Academy of Khadakwasla. He served as an Indian army officer and later, he left his services without taking any perks and started his political career in the 1960s.
He got his breakthrough in 1980 by getting elected as an MP of the upper house (Rajya Sabha). After that, he continued to be a successful politician. He became the Finance Minister for a short-lived government of Sri Vajapey from 16th May 1996 to 1st June 1996.
After that, in 1998, in the Vajapey’s government, he became Minister of External Affairs. After serving as an External Affairs Minister from 1998 to 2002, he was asked to take the Finance Ministry and had worked as Finance Minister from 2002 to 2004. In 2004, as per the people mandate, Congress-led, UPA government had come and he became the opposition leader till 2009.
The Saviour of several lives:
Indian Airlines flight number 814, commonly known as IC 814, consisting of 171 passengers and 15 crew, was hijacked in the year 1999, December 24, and taken to Kandahar, Afghanistan. The terrorists’ main demands were the release of 36 prisoners, who were notorious terrorists and demanded millions of cash. Jaswanth Singh made negotiations with the hijackers and with the Afghanistan government. Finally, the hijackers agreed to the release of only 3 terrorists, Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, and Mulana Masood Azhar without giving cash. He negotiated and released only three instead of 36 and cash. In this way, he saved the lives of 171 passengers but unfortunately, one passenger was killed and another passenger was severely wounded in the neck. However, the rest of the passengers and cabin crew were safe. He wrote his autobiography in which he said that he used to sleep near the phone during the negotiations with hijackers.
Another chance to be the closest ally of the US:
Everyone knows that the US was a powerful country in the 2000s. In 2001, September 9 there was an attack on the World Trade Center. It was the attack in the heart of the US. This heinous attack by the terrorists is called the 9/11 attack. To nullify the terrorists in Afghanistan, The US had started a military operation called “Operation Enduring Freedom”. Their motto was to kill the main culprit Osama Bin Laden. The US government approached the Indian government and asked for help to make India as a gas filling station and asked to send the Indian Army to aid them.
Jaswanth Singh said that that was the right time to support the world’s powerful nation, and this idea was not materialised due to disagreement in the meeting with leaders like Vajpey and Lal Krishna Advani. Admiral Susheel Kumar of Indian army was also there.
He worked as a leader of the opposition from 2004 to 2009 in the parliament and constructively acted with the ruling party and raised the questions.
Expelled from BJP:
He was expelled from BJP when he wrote an autobiography, in which he praised Jinnah and blamed Nehru in 2009. After that, leaders like Nithin Ghadkary negotiated with Jaswanth Singh and made him retain the party. After that, he left the party when the party ticket was denied in 2014.
In the view of political critics, BJP has a bad record of disrespecting the senior leaders. A few people opined that even Jaswanth Singh also was denied by the party. The BJP has a strategy to encourage new leadership but should not neglect the senior leaders.
The demise of Sri Jaswanth Singh:
He was admitted into Army Research and Referral hospital for the treatment of Sepsis and multi-organ dysfunction on top of that, he had prolonged head injury. On 27th September he suffered a cardiac arrest and Sri Jaswanth Singh passed away.
Capital Delhi deeply saddened by the death of an eminent leader. India needs more dynamic and eminent leaders like him.