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Colleagues oppose Uma Bharti's rehabilitation

Onkar Singh in New Delhi | December 04, 2004 00:58 IST

Former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Uma Bharti on Friday evening met Bharatiya Janata Party president Lal Kishenchand Advani for the third time in as many days but the latter has reportedly deferred a decision on revoking her suspension from the party in view of opposition from the second rung leadership.

Bharti was suspended from the primary membership of the party for speaking up against Advani at a party meeting on November 10.

According to party sources, the second rung leadership comprising Pramod Mahajan, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and former party president M Venkaiah Naidu has taken exception to reports in the media that Bharti's suspension is likely to be revoked in view of her apology to Advani for her conduct.

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Barring Naidu, who was not in Delhi, the other leaders either met Advani or spoke to him on phone and expressed displeasure over plans to revoke the suspension. They pointed out that Bharti had made a personal attack on them in a letter written to Advani.

Bharti had, in her letter, charged that Naidu had used his wife's illness as a ploy to step down from the post of party president when he could have done the same after owning up moral responsibility for the party's poor performance in the Maharashtra assembly elections. She said uncharitable things about the other leaders, including describing them as free-loaders.

The Hindu edition of Outlook had carried excerpts from Bharti's letter dated November 14, 2004. Its editor Alok Mehta revealed that Bharti's colleagues had got in touch with him to know the contents of the letter.

Bharti denies writing any such letter. "The letter, which was printed by Outlook magazine, is fake. I am consulting advocates to initiate legal action against the magazine," she had told newspersons on Thursday after a meeting with Advani.

But her colleagues are not willing to buy her story. The magazine too is unwilling to backtrack.

"We stand by our story. What we have printed are excerpts from the letter and not the letter itself. We are prepared to face any legal action," Mehta told
Bharti could not be contacted for her comments.

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