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Uma Bharti to return as Madhya Pradesh CM

Last updated on: October 11, 2005 21:42 IST

The Bharatiya Janata Party has decided to effect a leadership change in Madhya Pradesh by sending Uma Bharti to replace the incumbent Babulal Gaur.

The decision in this regard was taken at the BJP general secretaries' meeting chaired by president L K Advani in New Delhi last Saturday, party sources told PTI on Tuesday.

The changeover has, however, been put on hold till after the end of Bihar elections as Bharti would be required in the capacity of joint in-charge of the electioneering in the state, the sources said.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Babulal Gaur on Tuesday dismissed reports emanating from Delhi about change of guard in the state. "These are all rumours. One should not pay any attention to such reports," he told reporters in Bhopal, adding, "I don't want to make any further comment." Gaur was responding to queries about reports of possible return of firebrand BJP leader Uma Bharti as chief minister.

Bharti, who has been keen to return as Madhya Pradesh chief minister, is understood to have been sounded about the change being effected, they said.

She had resigned from the post last August after a Hubli court issued arrest warrants against her in a 1994 riot case. Before quitting, she chose Gaur to succeed her.

But after the case against her was dismissed, she has been yearning to go back to her state as chief minister but Gaur has been refusing to vacate the post, which has resulted in acrimony between the two.

Bharti was suspended from the BJP last December after she questioned the leadership of Advani in full media glare at the party office bearers' meeting.

Subsequently, Bharti was in virtual political wilderness till she was rehabilitated about three months back by the party chief by making her joint in-charge of campaigning in Bihar.

At the meeting, the party leadership decided to effect the changeover in Madhya Pradesh at the earliest but general cecretary in-charge of Bihar, Arun Jaitley contended that she be allowed to campaign in the crucial upcoming Bihar polls. Accordingly, it was decided that the changeover would be effected after the polls get over in November.

With a backward community background, Bharti is considered an able match in campaigning style to Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad, explaining her importance in the electioneering of the state.

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