Bharti Sets Off For Hubli To Accept Sonias Challenge

Bhopal, Aug 24 | Updated: Aug 25 2004, 06:56am hrs
A day after quitting as Madhya Pradesh chief minister, Uma Bharti left for Hubli, Karnataka, on Tuesday, in the Goa Express to surrender before a court. A non-bailable arrest warrant has been issued against her in a decade-old riot case. Ms Bharti was given a warm send-off by party workrs MLAs and senior leaders.

Alleging that the Karnataka government was acting at Congress president Gandhis behest, Ms Bharti said that she has accepted Ms Gandhis challenge to uphold the pride of the national flag.

Earlier the police has said that Ms Bharti would be arrested after she enters Karnataka. This was announced by DGP S N Borkar on Tuesday. However, Karnataka chief minister Dharam Singh said that the police will not not arrest Ms Bharti if her surrender before a Hubli court is trouble free

The BJP said that the Karnataka government should make the way smooth for Ms Bhartis surrender before the Hubli court. If it did otherwise and she is arrested, it should be prepared to face the consequences, party general secretary Arvind Limbavali said.

He said the party would launch a severe agitation in case Ms Bharti was arrested on her way to surrender before the court.

PTI adds: Meanwhile, the new MP chief minister Babulal Gaur said on Tuesday that he would soon form his ministry. This would happen after he held consultations on the size of the ministry with senior BJP leaders in New Delhi.

However, the 74 year old OBC leader said that not more than 35 ministers could be accommodated in his Cabinet as per the new rule.

I am leaving for Delhi by tomorrow for consultations on the composition of the ministry with leaders, including former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Opposition leader in the Lok Sabha L K Advani and BJP president Venkaiah Naidu, Mr Gaur said soon after assuming office.