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Jaswant differs with Advani at book release

By Onkar Singh in New Delhi
Last updated on: March 20, 2008 12:46 IST
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Invited to deliver a keynote address by former president A P J Abdul Kalam on the occasion of the release of Lal Kishenchand Advani's book My Country My Life at Siri Fort Auditorium in New Delhi on Wednesday evening, former external affairs minister in the Atal Bihar Vajpayee government Jaswant Singh said that his concept of handling the Ayodhya issue was definitely not the same as that of Advani's.

Once the demolition work was over, Advani felt sad as the party known for its discipline had not listened to him, Jaswant Singh said whose own venture A Call To Honour had created ripples in political circles as everyone wanted to know who the mole in the prime minister's house who leaked out secrets.

Another point where he disagreed with Advani was the key question as to who was responsible for the Partition of India.

"To my mind Jinnah was equally responsible for Partition as the Congress was," he said. Many in the audience felt that Jaswant Singh was taking Advani head on.

Advani in his response chose not to talk about the controversial statements and said that he would let his book to do the talking.

Dr Kalam who had to walk for a good 15 minutes to get to the auditorium felt that it would have been proper if the book had been released by former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee instead of himself.

Kalam said that during his 10 to 15 meetings with Advani, he realised that the man kept his cool even under provocation.

The galaxy of persons who attended the glittering function besides the Bharatiya Janata Party and the National Democratic Aloiance leadership in Delhi were Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal, business tycoon Anil Ambani, actor Sanjay Dutt, sitar maestro Amjad Ali Khan among others.

But the limelight of the day was stolen by none other than Pratibha Advani who, called in to deliver a vote of thanks, made her first maiden political speech from the dais.

She spoke for a good 15 minutes, long enough for the BJP leaders to ask is she joining politics.

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Onkar Singh in New Delhi