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From suitor to sanyas: Uma pours heart out
- Dark side of love

Bhopal, July 1: Love Story, a BJP production.

Uma Bharti read out the script last night with the main characters ranged behind her on the dais at a book release.

She confessed that former BJP ideologue Govindacharya wanted to marry her but the proposal came a cropper when her brother objected to his dark complexion.

Now, Govindacharya, who seemed agitated when she talked about his rejection, considers the sanyasin chief minister a “guru”. Uma added that virtually homeless since going into political sanyas, Govindacharya often stays at the chief minister’s Shyamla Hills bungalow.

The 43-year-old chief minister also admitted that she often seeks Govindacharya’s help in shaping her government’s policies and programmes.

Former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar, Govindacharya and Swami Prasad Lodhi, her brother, listened as Uma spoke passionately for 20 minutes.

Turning to the representatives of the electronic media, she said: “I do not have to go to Kedarnath to meet him (Govindacharya). I meet him quite often in Delhi and he also stays at my residence in Bhopal,” she said.

Uma shares a love-hate relationship with the Bhopal-based media, particularly the private TV channels, whom she constantly accuses of “intruding” on her privacy.

Before the Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections last year, Govindacharya had hotly challenged barbs he claimed were being hurled by then Congress chief minister Digvijay Singh.

A photograph published in Dehra Dun showing them sitting in separate palanquins had apparently prompted Singh to dub their relations “a saga to romance”. Govindacharya had accused Singh of having a “sick mind and a feudal mindset”.

Uma said BJP leader L.K. Advani had communicated Govindacharya’s proposal to her in 1991. “But my brother was disappointed and asked if I found him to be a suitable match when there were several other suitors.”

The circumstances changed — dramatically, akin to a Bollywood tragedy — when Uma took sanyas on November 17, 1992, at the age of 31. On her return to Delhi after taking sanyas with a “kamandal and chimta”, Govindacharya touched her feet and called her a guru, she said.

“From then on, the past has been over for me,” Uma said, trying to put at rest incessant innuendoes and whispers.

Govindacharya listened in rapt attention as Uma narrated their past. Sometimes he smiled gingerly; sometimes he seemed lost deep in thought.

The confessional mood continued, with Uma saying that her temperamental brother was a bit of an eccentric. As Swami Lodhi shuffled uneasily, Uma immediately redeemed him. She greatly valued him despite his limitations as he was a caring brother. “He has acted both as my father and mother,” she said.

Swami Lodhi has uneasy relations with Govindacharya. A few months ago, when Swami Lodhi was denied a Lok Sabha ticket, he had threatened to “expose” Uma’s “advisers” and “convert (the) chief minister’s think tank into a septic tank”.

He has now been appointed the head of a government-run cooperative.

Today, BJP leaders heaved a sigh of relief that she has finally put an end to speculation. The Congress leaders smiled mischievously with I-told-you-so nods but refused to say anything.

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