Neena Vyas

Uma Bharti expected to follow suit soon

NEW DELHI: The former Chief Minister of Delhi, Madan Lal Khurana, is back in the BJP and the former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Uma Bharti, is expected to follow suit soon. Assembly elections are due both in Delhi and Madhya Pradesh later this year and the party is keen to avoid even a marginal loss of votes. Party sources say Ms. Bharti’s homecoming is likely to be announced “shortly” — within this month.

A two-line announcement by the party here on Friday said BJP president Rajnath Singh had given consent to Mr. Khurana coming back to the party. It added that earlier Mr. Khurana had regretted his behaviour and expressed his desire to work for the organisation and withdraw all allegations against the party.

Senior leaders, including Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha L.K. Advani, against whom Mr. Khurana had made several allegations, earlier agreed that he should be allowed to rejoin the BJP. Mr. Khurana met Mr. Advani and Mr. Singh and expressed regrets several days ago. On Friday evening, he went to Mr. Singh’s house to thank him.

The party line as well as that of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has been that there should be full “synergy” among all members of the sangh parivar. To a large extent, the relations between the BJP and the Sangh affiliates such as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad have been repaired over the last two years. The homecoming of Mr. Khurana and the expected rejoining of Ms. Bharti are part of the process of rebuilding that synergy, says a party leader.

No big position is expected to be offered to Mr. Khurana immediately, as the leadership feels it will send a wrong signal that indiscipline gets rewarded.

In 2003, the BJP allowed Mr. Khurana to lead the campaign in Delhi but it did not yield the desired results. That was considered to be the “last chance” that the party gave him to become Delhi chief minister.

It is learnt that Mr. Singh also consulted and took the consent of senior leaders from Delhi, especially Vijay Kumar Malhotra, before giving the green signal for Mr. Khurana’s return. So far the indications are that Mr. Malhotra will be projected as the chief ministerial candidate.