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BJP walking the tight-rope in MP
Onkar Singh in New Delhi | November 27, 2005 00:30 IST
Bharatiya Janata Party is walking the tight-rope in Madhya Pradesh.
After handing the reigns of Madhya Pradesh over to Shivraj Singh Chauhan and accomodating firebrand sanyasin Uma Bharati as the party general secretary, the BJP hopes that the worst to be over.
"This decision could be a temporary relief for the top brass and Bharti may accept it reluctantly but it is highly unlikely that she would keep quiet and settle for anything less then return to Madhya Pradesh as the chief minister," a senior leader of the party told rediff.com on the condition of anonymity.
He is not the only one who voiced this concern.
There are others who share the view but refuse to comment on the subject fearing the wrath of the party.
"It is unfair to her because she was told that the party would decide in her favour after the Bihar elections and she kept her promise and campaigned for the party but now the party has deserted her," said one of Bharti's supporters.
Uma Bharti has had a fair inkling that all is not well and that it would not be easy for her to return as the chief minister of the state. She knew the reasons behind it as well. She had defied Advani in front of the television cameras during the party meeting and challenged him to take action against her.
She was promptly removed from the general secretary's post and was suspended from the party.
Then began her efforts to patch up with the leadership but the harder she tried, the messier the scene became. She leaked out her letter written to party President L K Advani and started flinging accusations against the RSS officials, particularly against Suresh Soni that he had been interfering with the state administration on day-to-day basis.
She locked Sanjay Joshi in a room in the party headquarters from inside and refused to open. She threatened him that she would not open the room unless he resigned because Bharati thought that Joshi was the biggest hurdle in her return as the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh. Joshi called up Advani on the cell, who chided Bharati for her childish behaviour.
Wife of another party official was rushed to the rescue of Joshi.
An unsigned letter circulated to the media persons from a victim of one of the top BJP leaders with close links to RSS further embarrassed the party as the allegations of sexual harassment had been made in the letter circulated to the media by post with copy of the letter allegedly sent to the National Commission for Women.
Girijra Vyas, chairperson of the commission, denied having received any such letter.
Uma Bharti's biggest grudge were the off-record briefings held at the party office in which she said that she was deliberately being run down by the party's second-rung leadership.
A mass-based leader from the backward class, Bharti feels that she is being deliberately being run down by those who sit in the air-conditioned offices and hog the limelight propounding various theories.
According to insiders, former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, L K Advani and Jaswant Singh were in her favour that the commitment made to her should be honoured but the second-rung leadership did not agree to it.
Hours after the decision to accommodate her at the central level was taken, Bharti refused to meet newsmen and was closeted with her supporters at some place in Delhi to chalk out the next course of action before she made herself available to the media.
Controversies continue to harass and torment the BJP leadership which had been struggling to put up a brave front ever since Advani called Mohammad Ali Jinnah as secular leader during his visit to Pakistan in the middle of this year, much to the embarrassment of the RSS, which had projected Jinnah as the architect of the two nation theory.
Uma Bharti episode is just part of that.