Somnath: Expelled BJP leader Uma Bharti accompanying L K Advani to Somnath temple on Saturday set off speculation about her return to the party fold but party leaders said that it will not happen anytime soon.
Advani, along with his wife Kamla, daughter Pratibha, Uma and state BJP in-charge Balbir Punj offered prayers at the famous Shiva temple from where he had started his rath-yatra to Ayodhya in 1990. Since then, the former BJP president pays a visit to the temple on September 25 every year.
Advani, however, sidestepped questions on the possible return of Uma, who was expelled from BJP in December 2005 on disciplinary grounds soon after she spoke openly against him in his presence at a party function.
"She (Uma) had expressed the desire to come with me to Somnath and that is the reason she is here," Advani said refusing to entertain any questions on whether the firebrand
leader was set to rejoin BJP.
Uma did not speak to the media. Party seniors, when contacted, said "nothing much
should be read" into Uma accompanying Advani to Somnath. They denied that she is likely to return to BJP anytime soon.
Uma floated her own Bharitya Janshakti Party after she was expelled. She had set off similar speculation when in June she travelled in a chartered plane with Advani to Raipur to attend the funeral ceremony of Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh.
At that time, it was maintained that since she had known Singh and his family for long, she wanted to attend the funeral and had gone with Advani. However, the BJP top brass is not ruling out her return to the party. BJP President Nitin Gadkari and Advani are keen on taking her back but Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan and senior central leaders like Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj and M Venkaiah Naidu are not in favour.