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Uma Bharti withdraws party candidates from UP polls
April 13, 2007 13:16 IST
Last Updated: April 13, 2007 13:51 IST
In a move that could give a boost to Bharatiya Janata Party in Uttar Pradesh, Bhartiya Janshakti chief Uma Bharti on Friday announced the withdrawal of her party candidates from the Assembly polls.
The announcement by the erstwhile BJP leader came a day after the Vishwa Hindu Parishad appealed to candidates in the Assembly elections to withdraw in support of Kalyan Singh as the chief ministerial candidate and "in the larger interests of Hindus."
Bharti who parted ways with BJP sometime back however dismissed suggestions that her action was a precursor to her rejoining the main opposition party and insisted that it was only prompted by VHP's appeal.
"We are withdrawing candidates following the appeal of VHP leader Ashok Singhal that division of Hindus should be avoided in the larger interest of the country," Bharti said at a hurriedly called press conference in Delhi.
"There is no question of returning to the BJP," she said in reply to a volley of questions from reporters adding, that the UP polls were a 'test' for the BJP.
"If the BJP fails to get clear majority in the election, it should accept that the Hindu community has no faith in it," said Bharti.
Incidentally, Bharti also belongs to the backward community of Lodh of which Kalyan Singh is a top leader in Uttar Pradesh.
The former Madhya Pradesh chief minister had put up 72 candidates in the first two phases of polls and had plans to put up 132 more for the 403-seat Assembly for which the seven-phase poll is being held.
"We are working on the modalities to withdraw the candidates whose names are yet to be announced," she said.
The mercurial leader refused to react when asked whether she would campaign for the BJP in view of withdrawal of her candidates.
Singhal would issue another statement after the polls if BJP failed to win clear majority in the UP polls and then she would appeal to the saffron party to withdraw from the political scene, Bharti claimed.
Without naming the BJP, Bharti alleged that there was a well planned conspiracy by some leaders who issue statements that she was returning to the BJP during every election time.
"Earlier in Uttarakhand and Delhi and now in UP, some leaders are issuing statements that I am joining BJP which is not true," she said.
On Thursday, VHP leader Ashok Singhal had issued an appeal "in the larger interests of Hindus" to candidates in the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh to avoid division of Hindu votes by withdrawing in support of Kalyan Singh as the chief ministerial candidate.
"We no more appeal in favour of a particular party. We are appealing to avoid a division of Hindu votes and ensure the election of Kalyan Singh as the next chief minister. Under him only can a temple be built at Ram Janmabhoomi," VHP chief Singhal had said.
"The candidates who would be considerate enough to leave the election battlefield would be doing a yeoman service to the Hindu society, Singhal had said.
Singhal said he would be making efforts "to bring back Uma Bharti to BJP."
"I have always stood for consolidation and in her (Uma's) case too, I will try my best to bring her back," he said.