The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Uma is back, beware Laloo

New Delhi, Dec. 24: The BJP's 'prodigal daughter' Uma Bharti was today taken back into the family fold over a month after she was suspended.

'BJP president L.K. Advani has lifted the suspension order on Uma Bharti,' M. Venkaiah Naidu announced at a news conference here today.

Advani had suspended Uma after her public defiance of the high command at a meeting of party office-bearers last month. The BJP chief was not present at today's news conference.

Flanked by general secretary Arun Jaitley and spokesperson Manavendra Singh, Naidu dodged questions about why the suspension was revoked. 'You know the reasons,' he said and added that the party did not discuss 'internal' matters in public.

The sadhvi, reportedly on a five-day meditation in Ayodhya, was not available for comment. She is expected to break her silence on Sunday. 'Uma Bharti is in ekantvaas (solitude)'She will not be talking to anyone as of now,' former party MP Vinay Katiyar said in Ayodhya.

Within minutes of the announcement, the BJP's Bihar unit said Uma 'will be our main campaigner' for the Assembly polls in February. 'Only she is competent enough to tackle RJD chief Laloo Prasad Yadav's tactics,' state chief Gopal Narayan Singh said in Delhi.

Railway minister Laloo Prasad made light of the BJP's plan. 'Unka koi thikana hai' Kab rooth jayegi, kab maan jayegi, kab jogin ban jayegi (Can she be relied on' No one knows when she will sulk and when she will take sanyas only to come back),' he said in a dig at her 'temperamental' behaviour.

Uma, however, is not going to get back the post of general secretary, to which she was appointed a few days before the suspension.

The revocation can apparently be attributed to her proximity to the Sangh parivar, the RSS' pressure on the BJP for her rehabilitation, the coming Bihar elections and, most important, the party leadership's concern about sending the wrong signal to OBCs by pushing out one of the party's few OBC leaders.


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