The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Digvijay’s best bet: sanyasin versus sibling

Bhopal, Feb. 2: Swami Prasad Yadav does not know which way to go. On one side is his sister Uma Bharti, who disregarded his “talent”, and on the other is Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh, inciting him to blunt Bharti in the Assembly polls.

Yadav is dithering amid pressure from the Sangh parivar and the BJP top brass to buy peace with Uma.

But the BJP MLA, now slapped a showcause notice by the state BJP leadership, said any formula to save the “family dispute” turning into a political issue should come from Bharti.

Digvijay is not sitting idle. Sensing that Swami has the potential of damaging Uma in the state polls, the chief minister has offered him a Congress ticket but Swami is said to be asking for more and more.

He wants a free hand in the region to accommodate some of his supporters.

In addition, Swami is unwilling to launch any personal attack on his sister.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Swami today admitted that he had received “feelers” from both sides. “It is true that I do not like Uma’s life style and people surrounding her but there is no way I will say things that may cast any aspersion on her character. She is a pious lady and I have been like a father figure,” he said.

Swami said he was aware that there were efforts to give political colour to a family dispute.

“It is true that I have differences with Umashri but I am not going to indulge in character assassination and things that are not compatible with dharma,” he said.

Asked to comment on Digvijay, who is said to be “luring” him to the Congress, Swami said: “I respect the chief minister. He is a decent man. The BJP has gone ahead and issued a showcause notice. I will give them a suitable reply.”

Swami, known for his plainspeaking, showered praise on the top BJP leadership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, L.K. Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi.

“They are divine persons and I have no differences with them. What I do not like is the conduct my sister and her style of functioning. She must mend her ways.”

When asked why he turned against Bharti despite being a father figure to her for 12 years, Swami said: “There is one Rani aunty and one Sharma in Bhopal who have influenced Uma to turn against me. They are misleading her, fooling her. She must keep her eyes open. If she does not, I will still pray for her well being.”

Swami said he had his doubts if the BJP would win Madhya Pradesh under Bharti if she continued to be “surrounded by wrong persons”.

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