Uma cools down

Updated: Jan 1 2006, 05:30am hrs
She almost made a comeback as Madhya Pradesh chief minister in 2005. Subsequently, the 46-year-old firebrand leader, Uma Bharti, got expelled from BJP for an indefinite period when the party celebrated its silver jubilee celebrations. She had joined BJP in 1980. To make matters worse, her bete-noire Shivraj Singh Chauhan was anointed to the throne.

Earlier in November 2004, Bharti had got suspended for publicly rebuking BJP chief LK Advani. Nevertheless, the party revoked her suspension after she apologised to Advani, but it was because RSS lobbied for her.

The fiery sanyasin, who from the age of five has given religious discourses in 75 countries, had been a Sangh favourite.

But in November 2005 she antagonised the Sangh. In her letter to RSS chief KS Sudarshan, leaked to the media in October, she complained against RSS joint general secretary Suresh Soni, accusing him of interfering in Madhya Pradesh BJP affairs and trying to scuttle her chances of making a comeback in state politics. RSS termed this as tantamount to an attack on the Sangh itself.

She had also named in her letter senior BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu and Sanjay Joshi, who was considered as RSS pointsman in BJP and who quit as general secretary over a sex scandal recently.

Incidently, she had led the party to a massive victory in the 2003 Madhya Pradesh Assembly polls but had to step down in 2004 nominating Babulal Gaur as her successor. What went against her was the widening hiatus in her ties with many of the next generation leaders, who she termed as Rajya Sabha leaders with no mass base. Her rivals not only prevented her from becoming CM again but also led to her expulsion.

Bharti is currently on her Bhopal-Ayodhya Ram Roti Yatra and is expected to reveal her plans to form a political outfit in the middle of January 2006. And her political ambitions are not restricted to Madhya Pradesh alone. She also plans to travel to Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, etc. Will she again join BJP With a new BJP chief taking over, there could be a reconciliation.