Expelled BJP leader Jaswant Singh's pocket borough, Barmer, is in his pocket. And neither the queen's (Rajasthan CM Vasundra Raje Scindia) men, nor the queen's horses can stop this inevitability from happening, said the man who has fought 12 general elections.
With his clipped British accent, Jaswant should have been fighting to get into the House of Lords. Who else other than him would tell a bunch of journalists, "I am in your hands", meaning "ask your questions, the field's open" Many a hack, with the Hindi translation "Main tumhare haath mein hoon," must have been left flustered, wondering, "Yeh kya bol raha hai tau?"
That was probably why the first question thrown at him took its time coming. When it came, it was an innocuous one, and quite outdated at that: How do you feel being out of the BJP? To that the man, who could easily pass for a British lord, replied, "This was the second time I was expelled from the BJP. I am not nirdaliya, I'm swantantra."
In his opening statement, Singh spoke of how these elections have brought the "level of political discourse to a low point," with glaring absence of ideas and issues. "It appears as if political parties have lost their moral compass. Rhetoric has replaced logic. Main issues that should have been discussed, like the state of the economy and the challenges faced by the country like its foreign policy, are being ignored."
Asked if it was Modi, who had brought the level of political discourse to a low point, Singh said he wouldn't name individuals but that it was true that parties and politicians have reduced political discourse to an "LCM" when they should have been aiming for the "HCF".
By the way, the Barmer warrior says he will not return to the BJP if "ab ki baar Modi sarkar" becomes a reality. "No, I'll not be doing so... I'm happier to remain outside," he said to that query. "I did not take the extreme step of leaving the party. The BJP took the extreme step of expelling me from the party. It gave a Congressman, who was defeated just months ago by the BJP, a BJP ticket."
For all that, reading between the lines, Jaswant Singh may do just the opposite if he wins in Barmer, and if his son, MLA Manvendra Singh, "a victim of gross injustice and low vendetta", is reinstated in the party with "honour intact".
Dismissing any "Modi wave" anywhere, he said there was only a "heat wave" in Barmer. And, yes, chief minister Vasundra Raje Scindia and BJP president Rajnath Singh had put everything that they had at their command to make him eat dust. They failed, said Singh.
"She had made it a matter of prestige, saying that it was question of mooch kat jayegi. This was the first Maharani I've heard who has a moustache," said the clean-shaven Rajput, with a controlled laugh, very much like the lord of all he surveys.