The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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BJP boots out ‘anti-party’ Uma

New Delhi, Dec. 5: Uma Bharti’s stint with the BJP came to an abrupt end today with the party expelling her indefinitely for “indiscipline and anti-party activities”.

After Kalyan Singh in Uttar Pradesh, Uma becomes the second prominent leader from the Other Backward Classes to be expelled from the BJP.

The decision was taken at a parliamentary board meeting, attended by Atal Bihari Vajpayee and L.K. Advani. “The board has decided to expel Uma Bharti from the primary membership of the party'. The duration of her expulsion has not been specified, ” BJP spokesperson Arun Jaitley said after the meeting.

Jaitley added that the sadhvi’s behaviour in the last couple of days and her reply to showcause notices “constitute acts of indiscipline as also anti-party activities”.

He said showcause notices had been issued to 13 other legislators. “Nine of them have replied to the notices and apologised'. The central parliamentary board will accept whatever decision the state unit will advocate with regard to the nine who have replied.”

With Uma supporter K.N. Govindacharya announcing the constitution of a committee to raise “issues of national importance”, BJP insiders feel there are indications that the sadhvi will float a party.

The committee has enough BJP names to make the party uncomfortable ' Babulal Marandi from Jharkhand, former BJP MP from Karnataka Vasavaraj Patil, Viresh Pratap Chowdhary from Delhi and Amitabh Sinha of its media cell.

Although Govindacharya sought to distance himself and the committee from Uma’s political future, he did not deny that his activities have wider political implications.

“Our task is to instil accountability in politics. All political parties, including the BJP, have drifted from people-centric politics. They are only doing power politics. We have to make them accountable,” he said.

Govindacharya said Uma’s Ram Roti Yatra, the roadshow she began after being denied chief ministership, seeks to undo the wrongs done by the BJP over the years.

The Uma camp is banking on the sympathisers in the Sangh and its affiliated organisations like the Swadeshi Jagran Manch, of which Govindacharya is the co-convener.

The BJP leadership, however, is convinced that without the overt support of either the RSS or the BJP, Uma’s independent “ventures” would ultimately peter out.

“She was wrongly advised not to take up the offer of being a party general secretary. Though she is capable of inflicting damage on the BJP in Bundelkhand and adjoining areas in MP, the party obviously is not threatened by her,” said a senior leader.

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