The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Five brains plot Uma’s battle

Bhopal, Nov. 21: If you are looking for a team with a pilot’s flair, a surgeon’s touch and the wisdom of a judge, look no further. Just walk up to Uma Bharti’s “powerhouse”.

Sample this: An RSS pracharak who’s an amateur pilot and has a master’s degree in commerce; an orthopaedic surgeon who believes in a “mission”; a retired high court judge, a software dealer, the bureau chief of a leading Hindi daily — they make up the BJP leader’s core team of “faceless” advisers.

The five men work out of a house allotted, ironically, by the Congress-led Madhya Pradesh government in the elite 74 Bungalows colony and share an address with top bureaucrats. “Jawli”— as the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate named it — is regarded as Bharti’s “powerhouse” where her handpicked team worked on a post-election blueprint for the firebrand leader over the last 10 months.

Titled Vision 2010:Unlocking the potential of MP, the blueprint was unveiled yesterday in the presence of Union ministers Jaswant Singh, Arun Jaitley and Arun Shourie.

Jawli is Bhopal’s hottest address and if local gossip is to be trusted, officials have started “discreetly” meeting its movers and shakers. So meet the five brains behind Bharti’s poll campaign — Anil Dave, Ajay Mehta, Shailendra Sharma, Bharat Bhushan and Satyajit.

Dave, the pracharak, is the leader of the team which has emerged as a parallel apparatus to the state BJP, though sources stressed there was “perfect synergy” between the two and that nothing was said or done without the BJP’s consent. A resident of Indore and a pilot by training, Dave is believed to be instrumental in narrowing the focus of the campaign to development and not allowing it to be “distracted” by Hindutva.

The only aspect on which Bharti managed to have her way was naming her powerhouse Jawli after the place in Maharashtra where Shivaji killed Afzal Khan.

The document is supposed to be the result of the work put in by a Bhopal-based NGO, Gaurav Prathishtan, headed by Shachindra Dwivedi, a former high court judge and president of the Madhya Pradesh State Electricity Board Regulatory Authority.

Dwivedi, the sources said, supplied valuable inputs to build a campaign around the power shortage theme which, if the BJP is to be believed, is enough to ensure the Congress’ rout in the coming elections. Because “local talent, local resources” is the catchword of Vision 2010, the BJP’s “alternative” energy policy was predicated on the belief that “atomic energy and bio-gas energy” could co-exist perfectly. “With a cattle population of 4.5 crore, there is a huge scope for gobar gas energy. Each village can have its own plant. We have talked of private participation,” the sources said.

Mehta comes from a family of freedom fighters but took to the RSS because of “its deep-rooted feelings for society and the nation”. He quit his job in a government hospital in 1996 to set up a paramedical college, a charity trust and joined the RSS. Mehta said he became part of Jawli because of Dave. Although he thinks Digvijay Singh is “nice, civilised and helpful”, Mehta said he “concentrates more on solving problems of individuals rather than society as a whole”.

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