The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bharti sermon finds few buyers
- Campaigner tells cadre to skip films, shopping

Bhopal, Feb. 4: She wants them to kick gossip sessions, abandon shopping and stop watching films till November, but the crowds are not coming.

Uma Bharti, the BJP’s star campaigner for the Madhya Pradesh Assembly polls, had reasons to be disappointed when a modest crowd greeted her in her parliamentary constituency today. Barely 2,500 people, including passers-by, turned up to hear her slogans and mantras at the busy TT Nagar in the heart of the capital city. It hurt — more because she had just chucked a ministerial berth to shape up the party for the polls.

The event marked the conclusion of the 23-day state-wide “parivartan yatra” organised by the BJP’s youth wing. “Do not waste time in shopping around or gossiping or watching films,” she told the gathering. “Utilise the time in building the party and spreading the BJP’s message.”

The cream of the Madhya Pradesh BJP — including state unit chief Kailash Joshi — was present when she pronounced her mantra for the polls.

Bharti underlined the need for going all out. She divided her six-point mantra into two parts. “The first three mantras are for me,” she said, promising to abide by her vows of nirvikar (selflessness), nishkam (sense of purpose) and nirbhaya (fearlessness). “I will not stoop low. I will have just one goal — love for the nation and I will not fear for my life.”

For BJP workers, the message was to practise “tyag, tapasya and balidaan (sacrifice, perseverance and the spirit to surrender)”.

Bharti sought to offer a hand of friendship to Muslims. “We are all Bharatiyas, so why should Muslims feel alienated,” she said, claiming that the BJP would never make Hindutva a poll issue. “It is a matter of belief and how we live in the country. How can a way of life be made a poll issue'”

Bharti also asked the BJP’s youth wing workers to avoid confrontation as Digvijay was keen to “engineer riots”. “Do not fall in his trap,” she warned.

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