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Nov 02, 2007 at 03:40pm IST

Jaswant denies holding rave party at home

New Delhi: Senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh on Friday laughed out allegations that he served opium to guests at a function in his home in Barmer district’s Jasol village on Wednesday.

He said it was not opium, but a traditional saffron mix of gangajal, kesar, jaggery and tea.

"It's a very old tradition to serve opium in functions like Riyaan when nears and dears and even people of nearby villages are invited to express for thanks-giving after a family gets some good news and happiness," he said. He, however, insisted that no opium was served at his home function.

Singh also denied that it was a meeting of dissident BJP leaders and claimed it to be more of a social occasion. "Who is saying all this?" he shot back when asked about reports that some dissident leaders had come to his ancestral house in Jasol village.

It was purely a family function and he had last time organised such a function nearly seven years ago when his grandson was born, he said.

"Now, I have organised this because there were many things to celebrate in the past four years, including my son Manvendra's victory in Lok Sabha election and also the birth of my granddaughter," the former Union minister said.

BJP dissident leaders in Rajasthan, including Education Minister Ghanshyam Tiwari, Social Welfare Minister Madan Dilwar, party MP Lalit Kishor Chaturvedi, Raghuvir Singh Kaushal and Kaliash Meghawal others attended Singh's function.

Most of the leaders who attended the lunch hosted by Singh did not participate in BJP state executive meeting held recently and stayed away from cabinet meetings in the last six months for one reason or other.

"I had even invited some of my friends from the Congress party. I have invited (LK) Advaniji and our party president Rajnath Singhji, but they could not make it," he said.

Asked how come he forgot to invite Chief Minister Vasundhra Raje, Singh said the function is the oldest tradition of western Rajastan and in this only men are invited no woman is allowed. "Thus, I just followed the oldest tradition."

State Social Welfare Minister Madan Dilawar quipped: "I'm the happiest person. I just went there on the invitation of Singh as it was purely a family get-together."