New Delhi: BJP Central leadership today
again deferred a decision on the return of firebrand leader
Uma Bharti to the party-fold due to differences among the top
brass on the issue.
"BJP Central leadership has not taken any decision on the
return of Uma Bharti to the party," senior BJP leader Ananth
The matter was discussed at a meeting held at the
residence of party president Nitin Gadkari and attended by L K
Advani, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Kumar, M Venkaiah Naidu,
Rajnath Singh, M M Joshi, Bal Apte and others.
While Advani, Gadkari and Rajnath Singh are said to be in
favour of Uma`s return, Swaraj, Jaitley, Naidu and Kumar are
understood to be opposed to the idea.
Meanwhile, the party issued a warning to two ministers in
Shivraj Singh Chouhan cabinet in Madhya Pradesh -- Babulal
Gaur and Kailash Vijayvargiya -- asking them to refrain from
sharing with the media their views on Uma`s return to BJP.
"In Madhya Pradesh, the Central leadership has asked a
couple of ministers not to go out of the purview of their
authority and make statements. Whatever decision has to be
taken on the issue (Uma`s return) will be taken by the
Parliamentary Board of the party," Kumar told reporters.
The Madhya Pradesh unit of BJP is also divided on the
issue of Uma Bharti`s return to the party. Chief Minister
Chouhan and Gaur are opposed to her while Sumitra Mahajan and
Vijayvargiya want her back.
Gaur had offered to resign from his post yesterday when
the issue of Uma`s return came up for discussion. Vijayvargiya
is openly saying that Uma should rejoin the BJP. The spat
between the two became public, putting the party in an
embarrassing position and prompting it to issue the statement.
The buzz about Uma`s return to BJP has been doing the
rounds since Gadkari took over as President and said he would
welcome all those who had left the party. Many felt after
former External Affairs minister Jaswant Singh`s homecoming
in June, Uma`s return was imminent.
However, party insiders say Uma`s case is different as
her return would threaten the clout of several senior party
leaders. Being a maverick leader with a mass following, her
return to BJP would also diminish the stature of leaders from
Madhya Pradesh, like Chouhan and Gaur, they say.
Even a promise from Gadkari that Uma`s services would be
utilised in Uttar Pradesh and other places and she would keep
away from Madhya Pradesh has not convinced Chouhan, who
refuses to believe this, party sources said.