No Dissent, Says BJP As Uma Bharti Announces Election Sabbatical

Uma Bharti has announced that she would not contest elections for three years (File)

Bhopal:  Two days after union minister Uma Bharti announced that she would take a break from electoral politics for three years due to health problems, there seems to be more to her decision than medical grounds.

On Tuesday, Ms Bharti, addressing the media in Bhopal, had alleged a conspiracy over her name being dragged into the case pertaining to alleged irregularities in examinations conducted by the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board, also called the Vyapam scam. She, however, did not name anyone.

Sources say Ms Bharti, who was stripped of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation portfolio in a cabinet reshuffle last year, had indicated her disinterest in continuing as the minister of drinking water and sanitation.

In December last year, in the presence of her successor Nitin Gadkari, she had publicly said she would launch a “fast unto death” if plans related to the Ganga river were not implemented by October 2018.

Leaders close to her say Ms Bharti was keen on coming back to state politics. During her visit to Ujjain last month, she had reportedly expressed a desire to contest elections from the state.

Her latest remarks come just ahead of by-elections to two assembly seats in Madhya Pradesh next week — seen as a prestige battle for chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. But the party says Ms Bharti’s latest move should not be seen as dissent.

“There is no question of any displeasure, only due to medical reasons she has decided to take a break,” said Lokendra Parashar, the BJP’s media in-charge for the Madhya Pradesh.

Ms Bharti may have taken a sabbatical from electoral politics but she seems to have made it clear that she wouldn’t take opposition attacks on her ideological mentor, the RSS.

Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had sought RSS assistance when Pakistan attacked Jammu and Kashmir soon after Independence and Sangh volunteers had gone there to help, she said.

Her claim comes amid the controversy over RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s remarks that the Sangh could mobilise itself in three days while the army would take six to seven months to do so.

The opposition says Ms Bharti response is all scripted. “It’s just to keep up the pressure , her relationship with RSS is just a written script,” said Kunal Chaudhry, president of the Madhya Pradesh Youth Congress.

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