Jaswant Singh

For other uses, see Jaswant Singh (disambiguation).
Jaswant Singh
Minister of Finance
In office
1 July 2002  2004
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Preceded by Yashwant Sinha
Succeeded by P Chidambaram
In office
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Preceded by Manmohan Singh
Succeeded by P Chidambaram
Minister of Defence
In office
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Preceded by George Fernandes
Succeeded by George Fernandes
Minister of External Affairs
In office
5 December 1998  2002
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Preceded by Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Succeeded by Yashwant Sinha
Personal details
Born (1938-01-03) 3 January 1938
Jasol, Barmer district, Rajputana, British India
(now Rajasthan, India)
Nationality Indian
Political party Bharatiya Janata Party
Independent (from 29 March 2014)
Alma mater Mayo College
Indian Military Academy
Religion Hinduism
Website http://www.jaswantsingh.com

Jaswant Singh (born 3 January 1938) is an Indian politician. He earlier belonged to the Bharatiya Janata Party and has held many portfolios in the national cabinet including Finance, External Affairs and Defence during the NDA regime (1998 to 2004). He was also the Leader of Opposition from 2004 to 2009 in the Rajya Sabha and the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission of India(1998–99). He is known for his rigid political views.

On 29 March 2014, he was expelled from the BJP after he refused to withdraw his nomination as an independent in the Barmer-Jaisalmer Lok Sabha constituency against his own party candidate.[1][2]

On 7 August 2014, he had a fall at his home and suffered a serious head injury. He was admitted to Army's Research and Referral hospital in Delhi for treatment. He is in a state of coma ever since.[3]

Early life

Singh was born on 3 January 1938 at village Jasol, Barmer district, Rajasthan in a Rajput family.[4] His father was Thakur Sardara Singh Rathore and mother was Kunwar Baisa. Singh is married to Sheetal Kanwar. They have two sons. his elder son Manvendra Singh former Member of Parliament from Barmer.[5] He also has two grandchildren (children of Manvendra singh Rathore) Harshini Kanwar Rathore (Granddaughter) and Hamir Singh Rathore (Grandson). He was an officer in the Indian Army in the 1960s and is an alumnus of Mayo College and the National Defence Academy (India), Khadakwasla.

Political life

Though Singh entered politics in the late 60s, the first few years of his political life lacked success and recognition, till he was initiated in the Jan Sangh, by BJP stalwart Bhairon Singh Shekhawat who is considered to be Jaswant's political mentor. He tasted success in his political career in 1980 when he was first selected for the Rajyasabha, the upper house of Indian parliament. He served as Finance minister in the short-lived government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, which lasted just from 16 May 1996, to 1 June 1996. After Vajpayee became Prime Minister again two years later, he became Minister for External Affairs of India, serving from 5 December 1998 until 1 July 2002. Responsible for foreign policy, he dealt with high tensions between India and Pakistan. In July 2002 he became Finance Minister again, switching posts with Yashwant Sinha. He served as Finance Minister until the defeat of the Vajpayee government in May 2004 and was instrumental in defining and pushing through the market-friendly reforms of the government. He was conferred the Outstanding Parliamentarian Award for the year 2001. On 19 August 2009, he was expelled from BJP after criticism over his remarks in his book which allegedly praised the founder of Pakistan in his book Jinnah – India, Partition, Independence. His last major position was as Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha from 2004 to 2009.

He was denied a ticket by the party to contest the 2014 Lok Sabha Parliamentary Elections from the Barmer-Jaisalmer constituency in Rajasthan. He was subsequently expelled from the BJP after deciding to contest the elections as an independent candidate, and lost to his former party's candidate Col. Sonaram Choudhary.[6]

Shri Jaswant Singh was elected from Darjeeling Seat from the year 2010 to 2014. His contribution to the hills and its people is evident for he touched the lives of so may organisations and advised the political movement with all his experience and foresight.

Vice President Nominee

He was the candidate for the post of Vice president for the NDA in 2012. On 6 August 2012, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa extended AIADMK’s support to NDA's vice-presidential nominee Jaswant Singh saying that there has to be an opposition in a true democracy.[7] He lost to Hamid Ansari who was the UPA's Vice presidential candidate.[8]


Jaswant Singh (left) with Donald Rumsfeld
With Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin

In the government of Vajpayee, Singh was External Affairs Minister. Later he became Minister of Finance with Yashwant Sinha. He was also the Defence Minister when George Fernandes was forced to resign after the Tehelka exposure.

Singh is widely regarded for his handling of relations with the United States which were strained after the 1998 Indian nuclear tests but which ameliorated soon after culminating in the 2000 visit of U.S. President Bill Clinton to India. His skill as a negotiator and diplomat during talks with the United States has been well acknowledged by his U.S. counterpart Strobe Talbott.

Singh has been frequently criticized by political parties for escorting terrorists to Kandhahar, Afghanistan. They were released by the Government of India in exchange for passengers from a hijacked Indian Airlines plane.[9]

Singh was denied a Member of Parliament ticket for Barmer by BJP for the Indian general election, 2014 over Col. Sonaram Choudhary. Unhappy, Singh filed his nomination as an independent candidate from Barmer constituency.[10] Subsequently he was expelled from BJP for six years[11] and lost the election.[6]


A controversy erupted immediately after the release of his book, in which Singh insinuated that a mole had existed in the Prime Ministerial Office during the tenure of P. V. Narasimha Rao, who had leaked information to U.S. sources. Soon after, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh challenged him to name the mole. In response, Singh sent a letter to him. The letter, Manmohan Singh said later, had no signature, and no name of any mole. Jaswant Singh then backed off, saying his views on the subject were based on a "hunch".[12]

Controversy hovered around him again when on 17 August 2009 another book authored by him, entitled Jinnah: India-Partition-Independence, was released. In this he praised Mohammad Ali Jinnah and claimed that the centralised policy of Jawaharlal Nehru was responsible for Partition.[13] He was later expelled from the primary membership of BJP as a result of the ensuing controversy.[14] In interviews with media he quoted BJP as narrow-minded and to have limited thought. In 2010, he was readmitted to BJP.[15]

Positions held


  1. Jaswant Singh rules out withdrawal from Barmer Lok Sabha seat. The Indian Express (29 March 2014). Retrieved on 2014-05-21.
  2. BJP expels defiant Jaswant Singh for 6 years. Hindustan Times. Retrieved on 21 May 2014.
  3. http://zeenews.india.com/news/nation/ex-bjp-veteran-jaswant-singh-injured-in-icu-at-delhi-hospital_953266.html
  4. "Jaswant is sacked without show-cause notice, but Vasundhara could defy directive to resign"
  5. Jaswant Singh Rathore Biography
  6. 1 2 "Election Results: Jaswant goes down fighting in Barmer". 17 May 2014.
  7. "Jayalalithaa extends support to Jaswant Singh". 6 August 2012.
  8. "Jaswant Singh to challenge Hamid Ansari test Vice-President's post". 16 July 2012.
  9. "I am bewildered: Jaswant". Chennai: The Hindu. 28 July 2006. Retrieved 29 July 2006.
  10. Defiant Jaswant takes on Modi, dares BJP to sack him : Highlights, News – India Today. Indiatoday.intoday.in (24 March 2014). Retrieved on 2014-05-21.
  11. General elections 2014: Senior leader Jaswant Singh expelled from BJP for six years – The Economic Times. Economictimes.indiatimes.com (30 March 2014). Retrieved on 2014-05-21.
  12. "I know no 'mole', Jaswant tells RSS". Yahoo.com. Retrieved 31 July 2006.
  13. "Nehru not Jinnah's polity led to partition". Jai Bihar. Archived from the original on 22 August 2009. Retrieved 19 August 2009.
  14. "Jaswant Singh expelled over Jinnah remarks". Jai Bihar. 19 August 2009. Archived from the original on 21 August 2009. Retrieved 19 August 2009.
  15. "Jaswant returns to BJP".
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Jaswant Singh.
Political offices
Preceded by
Manmohan Singh
Finance Minister of India
Succeeded by
P. Chidambaram
Preceded by
Yashwant Sinha
Finance Minister of India
Preceded by
Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Minister for External Affairs of India
Succeeded by
Yashwant Sinha
Preceded by
George Fernandes
Minister for Defence of India
Succeeded by
George Fernandes
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