The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Uma in Advani team as MP monitor

New Delhi, Nov. 4: Uma Bharti, prone to throwing tantrums and having her way finally, managed to pull it off yet again.

BJP president L.K. Advani today appointed her a general secretary in his team of office-bearers and a member of a panel that will coordinate the working of the party's Madhya Pradesh government and the state unit.

The appointment was made four days after Advani indicated that Uma was not included in his team because she wished to be on 'vacation'.

A source close to Uma said her mentor and swadeshi ideologue, S. Gurumurthy, swung into action and spoke to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Advani on her behalf.

He reportedly insisted that the seventh post of general secretary ' which Advani had left vacant ' should go to Uma. Gurumurthy finally convinced the BJP chief last evening.

A party source said Advani was against inducting her immediately because he was 'upset' with reports in a section of the press. The reports said Uma did not want to be part of a team that included Pramod Mahajan ' whom she held responsible for 'scuttling' her 'tiranga yatra' in Maharashtra ' and Shivraj Singh Chauhan, her backward caste 'rival' from Madhya Pradesh.

The RSS, too, reportedly interceded on the sadhvi's behalf and advised Advani that leaving Uma out in the cold might send the wrong 'social' signal to Mandalised Bihar before elections, due in February.

BJP spokesperson Arun Jaitley said Uma would assume charge of her job on November 30 after a vacation.

She also succeeded in persuading Advani to set up a government-party coordination committee in Madhya Pradesh, which, the source pointed out, was her way of ensuring her say in the running of both after she ceased to be chief minister.

The committee's chairperson and other members would be decided by the RSS and the BJP at a meeting in Hardwar on November 9 after the Sangh's national executive concludes.

The coordination panel was seen as a snub to chief minister Babulal Gaur, who on Sunday stressed to the media that there was no need for one. 'I am not in favour of the party interfering in administrative matters,' he had said.

There is a view in the Gaur camp that Uma's 'gang of four' ' Gurumurthy, her media adviser Atul Jain, high-profile RSS pracharak Anil Dave and Shailendra Sharma ' may get 'pro-active' once the coordination panel becomes operative.

One of the first things Gaur did after taking over was to keep the quartet out of the government.

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