Jaipur, March 24 IANS | 8 months ago

Jaswant Singh, who was miffed with the BJP for not offering him a ticket, Monday filed his nomination papers as an independent from Barmer Lok Sabha constituency.

"He has filed his nomination papers as independent candidate but he has so far not resigned from the BJP," sources close to Singh told IANS on phone from Barmer.

He will decide on the future course of action after meeting his supporters and holding a rally later in the day in Barmer.

Jaswant Singh said he felt "relieved" after filing his nomination papers.

"The people will tell. I am contesting on principle and for honour, not just my honour but that of the people of Barmer," he told TV channel Times Now.

Jaswant Singh represented Darjeeling in the outgoing 15th Lok Sabha.

He wanted to contest from Barmer but the party fielded Col. Sonaram, who recently switched to the BJP from the Congress. He was upset at not being considered from the constituency.

His supporters in Barmer had then chalked out the strategy to field him as an independent.

Some party workers took out a protest rally and burnt effigies of Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje Friday and Saturday, holding her responsible for the denial of ticket to Jaswant Singh.

"Col. Sonaram was with Congress for years. Now he has switched loyalties and joined the BJP. Fielding him immediately after joining the BJP has sent a wrong message to the voters. He should have been made to work in the organisation at least for some years before he was given such an opportunity," said a local BJP leader.

With Jaswant Singh deciding to contest, he may upset the equation against Sonaram as there are at least 2 lakh Rajput voters in Barmer constituency.

"He has influence over voters from other castes also. So Jaswant Singh will definitely make life difficult for the BJP candidate," said political analyst Vijay Sharma.

Voting for the 25 parliamentary constituencies in the state will take place April 17 and 24. In the 2009 elections, the Congress won 20 seats and the BJP four while one seat went to an independent.

Jaswant Singh hails from Jasol village in Barmer district. He was a member of the union cabinet during the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government.

(Posted on 24-03-2014)

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