Jaswant entrusted with task of improving ties with parties

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New Delhi: Six months after his expulsion was revoked and he returned to the party-fold, senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh was on Monday entrusted with the task of improving relations with other political parties and winning new allies.

"BJP national President Nitin Gadkari has entrusted the task of maintaining continuous contact and relation-building with all political parties to Jaswant Singh, MP," the party said in a statement.

Singh had not been given any major responsibility after his return to the BJP on June 24, 2010. Senior party leader L K Advani had said he was happy with Singh`s comeback and it had brought a "sense of relief" to him.

After the recent spectacular victory in Bihar polls, BJP decided to win over more allies and bring them to the NDA fold and also further strengthen ties with the present alliance partners. Jaswant Singh`s role would be work in this direction.

Today`s decision is also an indicator that Gadkari, who had mooted the plan of bringing back prominent leaders like Jaswant Singh and Uma Bharti, also wants to reinstate them with more responsibilities.

The senior BJP leader, a close associate of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, was summarily expelled from BJP at the Shimla Chintan Baithak in August 2009 for his controversial book which praised Pakistan-founder M A Jinnah and held Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel responsible for partition.

Singh, a former External Affairs Minister, is known for his persuasive skills which can prove useful in taking along all allies and convince more parties to join NDA ahead of the 2014 general elections.

At present, NDA has only four parties- BJP, JD(U), Shiromani Akali Dal and Shiv Sena. JMM as a partner is confined only to Jharkhand. BJP has renewed contacts with Om Prakash Chautala`s INLD, Asom Gana Parishad, AIADMK, TRS and TDP, among others.

Party sources said BJP was not happy with the efforts of JD(U) President and NDA Convenor Sharad Yadav, who was entrusted with the responsibility of winning new allies ahead of the December 22 rally here against corruption. Only four allies took part while the others kept away.

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