Bhopal: Claiming that Madhya Pradesh was "ahead of Gujarat" in development, BJP Vice President Uma Bharti on Monday said the party would add to its tally in this year`s assembly elections under leadership of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
In the past, Bharti had bitterly resented elevation of Chouhan as Chief Minister and had left the party in a huff eight years ago.
Bharti and other newly-appointed members of BJP`s national team from Madhya Pradesh were today welcomed at a function at the party office.
She recalled her close association with senior BJP leaders such as Vijayaraje Scindia and other "mentors".
"I may have left the building, but I was never emotionally away from the BJP`s ideology of Ram and Hindutva," she said.
Praising Chouhan for taking MP ahead of other states, she said: "Under Chouhan`s leadership, Madhya Pradesh is even ahead of Gujarat, because the states which have no ports have lot of difficulties in achieving development, compared to those which have ports and which are on country`s border.
"Despite Madhya Pradesh being a land-locked state, it has progressed tremendously under Chouhan with its GSDP growth at 12 per cent and agriculture growth at 18 per cent which are no mean achievements," she said today.
She said, "I am sure Chouhan, on his own, would easily win 150 seats in Madhya Pradesh and it is now our responsibility to add to it. The BJP would definitely win 25-30 per cent more seats this time."
Bharti said she had decimated Congress in 2003 and "in
2008 its last rites took place. In 2013, I am sure its pind-daan` (rituals after cremation) will be performed."
She also said that Assembly election was not a major challenge, but party workers would have to ensure that BJP-led NDA came to power at the Centre in 2014 as people were fed up with the UPA government`s misrule on all fronts.
Welcoming Bharti and others, Chouhan thanked the central BJP leadership for accommodating largest chunk of leaders from Madhya Pradesh in the national body.
He also spoke about welfare schemes of his government and indicated that if the circumstances permitted, government could launch a scheme to provide month`s ration at the cost of a day`s labour.
Another newly-appointed vice president from MP, Prabhat Jha, said though Bharti was currently an MLA from Uttar Pradesh, the people of MP would need her more.
BJP`s Parliamentary Board member and fourth-term General Secretary Thawarchand Gehlot said that though he was in the Board for quite a long time, people came to know about its importance only after Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi`s name figured in it.