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Updated: March 25, 2010 22:47 IST

Uma Bharti signals desire to return?

Neena Vyas
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Uma Bharti, founder of Bharatiya Janashakti party
The Hindu
Uma Bharti, founder of Bharatiya Janashakti party

Yet another signal has come from the former Bharatiya Janata Party leader, Uma Bharti, that she wants to return to the parent party.

The ‘sanyasin' on Thursday resigned from the presidency of the Bharatiya Janshakti Party, which she founded after she was expelled from the BJP in 2005.

Although the resignation immediately set off speculation that Ms. Bharti was about to re-enter the BJP, authoritative sources in the party said she has not had a single one-to-one meeting with new BJP chief Nitin Gadkari, and that there was no serious move that could spell a return soon.

It seems even the Madhya Pradesh unit of the party has not been consulted yet.

Ahead of the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, Ms. Bharti had approached BJP leaders and expressed her wish to return, but was told she would have to wait till after the results. She campaigned from the BJP platform and did not contest the election.

However, the BJP's disastrous electoral performance led to inner party turmoil and internal power struggles and no one paid attention to the issue of Ms. Bharti's return.

Although Mr. Gadkari has generally let it be known that he would not be averse to old faithfuls returning, no practical steps have been taken in this direction.

“The only meeting between Mr. Gadkari and Umaji was a chance meeting at the time of Nanaji Deshmukh's death,” a party member said.

While there is no doubt that the BJP could use one prominent backward caste face in its search for a better electoral performance, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan — who replaced Ms. Bharti in the State (after a short stint by Babulal Gaur) — has dug his heels in and shown the party bigwigs that he can win elections. To that extent, party insiders feel Ms. Bharti's utility for the BJP has been diminished.

In a letter to her party's acting president Sanghpriya Gautam, Ms. Bharti said that in view of the current political situation and her own health, she was giving up all responsibility in the organisation.

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