The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Uma posters on poll pyre

Bhopal, Nov. 11: Her stamp is all over, so the BJP leadership is planning an Uma bonfire.

Posters, banners, cut-outs, pamphlets, badges ' everything carrying the firebrand sadhvi's pictures ' have been heaped and set aside to be burnt tomorrow, on Diwali.

The unintended fireworks on Diwali have been necessitated because the publicity material for the Madhya Pradesh civic polls has turned 'waste' since the BJP yesterday cracked the whip on Uma Bharti.

The polls are scheduled for November 20, and printers and publishers are gloating over the prospect of securing emergency contracts worth lakhs of rupees.

The BJP leadership might burn all publicity material that has Uma's picture, but it is still groping in the dark about other aspects such as the long list of Uma sympathisers who occupy important posts in the party and the government.

There are reports that chief minister Babulal Gaur is planning to resort to large-scale purging.

Today, the state BJP leadership went into a huddle on how to present the Uma episode before voters. One view is to ignore the issue but the dominant one is the BJP should stress on primacy of discipline in the party.

In the civic polls, there are dozens of BJP nominees who owe allegiance to Uma. They include her brother Amrat who is in the fray from Tikamgarh. Uma loyalists, including BJP's mayoral nominees for Bhopal and Indore, are extremely reluctant to turn their back on her.

But the chief minister is equally determined. In a clear warning to Uma supporters, Gaur said any support to her would be construed as 'breach of discipline'.

At Uma's residence in Bhopal, her favourite Labrador Golu wandered around aimlessly in a desolate Professors' Colony bungalow. Uma's brother Swami Prasad Lodhi and his family have left for Chattarpur to celebrate Diwali, leaving the dogs in the custody of domestic helps.

The sadhvi is a passionate dog-lover and has several Labradors ' Kalu, Bhura, Golu and Bholu. When Uma was chief minister, the Labradors spent a few 'carefree months' at the palatial 6, Shayama Hills, the official chief ministerial bungalow now occupied by Gaur.

The Labradors were then under the supervision of police trainers. The arrangements continued till Uma moved to a much smaller house at Professor's Colony. But in the last 24 hours, informed sources said 'all extra facilities' have been withdrawn.

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