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Uma Bharti: Hindutva's postergirl
November 30, 2005 15:40 IST
Time finally seems to have come for a parting of ways between the Bharatiya Janata Party and its firebrand leader Uma Bharti.
The BJP on Wednesday served a show-cause notice to the former Madhya Pradesh chief minister, asking her to explain in three days why she should not be expelled from the party for boycotting its choice of Shivraj Singh Chauhan as the Madhya Pradesh chief minister.
The notice came after the BJP suspended her for anti-party activities.
Bharti, who stepped down from the CM's chair after a Hubli court served her summons in a flag-hoisting case last year, is a combination of firebrand leader, philosopher, and rabblerouser.
Born at Dunda village in Tikamgarh district on May 3, 1959, the story goes that Bharti became fluent in the teachings of the Gita and the Ramayan at the age of six and that at seven, she had cleared her standard VI exam.
At 16, the prodigal daughter of a peasant family - she had six siblings -- embarked on a nationwide tour, followed by a tour of 55 countries to 'broaden her horizon'.
Bharti got into politics through her interactions with late Rajmata Vijyaraje Scindia and other leaders of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and other saffron organisations.
She contested the 1984 Lok Sabha elections from Khajuraho and lost, thanks to the sympathy wave after Indira Gandhi's assassination.
In 1988, she became the vice president of the BJP state unit.
She won the Khajuraho Lok Sabha seat in 1989, when the BJP was riding the crest of the Ayodhya movement. After retaining the seat four times consecutively, she became a member of Lok Sabha from Bhopal in 1999.
She was made the Union minister of State for human resource development on March 19, 1998 and also given the post of the president of the BJP's youth wing -- the Yuva Morcha.
She was made the minister of State for tourism (Independent charge) in the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government in 1999. Taking up the issue of BJP councillors being beaten up, she relinquished her ministerial post in February 2000 to return to state politics.
She was again inducted into the cabinet after a year and made the sports and youth welfare minister. She also had a stint at the coal and mines ministry. She was later entrusted with the responsibility to strengthen the BJP in Madhya Pradesh.
Recognising her organisational acumen and oratory skills, the BJP leadership projected her as the party's chief ministerial candidate in Madhya Pradesh in 2003 and won.
Bharti's spat with the BJP top brass came out into the open on November 10 last year, when she walked out of the BJP office in New Delhi after a spat with party president Lal Kishenchand Advani, in full view of television cameras.
She was suspended, and later re-inducted into the party after she apologised.
Things you probably didn't know about Uma Bharti:
She loves dogs. She has two Alsatians called Bholu and Golu. She also has two Labradors -- Bhura and Kaalu.
Reportedly, she has a penchant for soft toys.
Her vision statement before the 2003 state elections had this line: 'So powerful are the qualities of cow dung that walls insulated with it can resist nuclear attack and radiation.'