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Team with warrant rolls, Uma reels

Bhopal/Bangalore, Aug. 22: The “tainted” Frankenstein unleashed by the BJP has turned its might on its master, triggering a chain of events that has left Uma Bharti tottering on her chief minister’s chair.

The Madhya Pradesh chief minister, who had yesterday kept her options open by sending a quit letter to her party president, said tonight that she would hand over the resignation papers to the governor tomorrow.

The turnaround came a few hours after the Congress-led government in Karnataka, where Uma is facing a decade-old rioting case, declared that a police team led by a woman would reach Bhopal tomorrow with a non-bailable warrant against Uma.

The Karnataka government did not specify whether the brief of the police team is confined to serving the warrant or it involves arresting the chief minister.

However, the inclusion of a woman officer, superintendent of police D. Roopa, in the four-member team carrying the warrant fuelled speculation that Uma would be arrested. The chief minister, too, seemed to be preparing for the worst, saying the government would accord a “warm welcome” to the police officials and treat them in a “proper and courteous manner”.

The BJP high command in Delhi also appeared to have given up efforts to dissuade Uma, who stormed to power after a landslide victory, from quitting. The BJP parliamentary board, which was supposed to meet tomorrow in the evening to take a decision on Uma after a court hearing concludes, has rescheduled the meeting to the morning.

The central leadership, which had made the issue of “tainted” ministers its main plank against the Congress-led government at the Centre and wrested the resignation of JMM leader Shibu Soren as minister, is expected to concentrate its firepower on the other Union ministers under a legal shadow.

Uma is expected to launch a tiranga yatra across the country to drive home the point that the case against her related to hoisting the Tricolour. The controversial flag-hoisting programme on August 15, 1994, on an Idgah maidan had fomented riots, killing seven people.

In Bhopal, 24 ministers of the 35-strong Uma ministry put in their papers in a show of solidarity with their besieged leader.

Uma said she spoke to leader of the Opposition L.K. Advani on phone and urged him to decide her successor at the BJP parliamentary board meeting in Delhi tomorrow.

The sessions court at Hubli would decide tomorrow on the Karnataka government’s plea to take back its revision petition filed in 2002 that had sought to withdraw cases against all 22 accused, including Uma.

Unmindful of the unfolding drama, Uma was busy hopping places of worship in temple town Ujjain. The chief minister spent hours at Mahakal temple of Shiva.

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