Uma, Digvijay to cross swords in UP

With firebrand BJP leader Uma Bharti given an important responsibility in the upcoming Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, the state would now see two former chief ministers of Madhya Pradesh fighting it out for supremacy.

Updated: Jun 09, 2011, 21:19 PM IST

Lucknow: With firebrand BJP leader Uma
Bharti given an important responsibility in the upcoming
Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, the state would now see two
former chief ministers of Madhya Pradesh fighting it out for
supremacy.

Bharti and Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh,
both former chief ministers of Madhya Pradesh, had crossed
swords in 2003 which saw the Congress citadel crumbling in
that state.
"Just like in Madhya Pradesh in 2003, Uma Bharti will
help BJP come to power in UP and she will aid the party in
overthrowing the undemocratic and anti-farmer government of
the state," BJP spokesman Vijay Pathak said.

This time the two leaders would however be pitted
against each other, albeit indirectly, as they would be
leading the campaign of their respective parties from the
background.

When asked to comment on the return of Uma Bharti and
being given responsibility in UP, Digvijay Singh said she was
not a challenge for him.

He joked that senior BJP leaders like Rajnath Singh
should realise that danger is looming large over them with her
return.

Singh, who as in-charge of the Congress, brought a
turnaround in its electoral fortunes in UP in the last Lok
Sabha elections by bagging 21 of the 80 seats.
This time he is responsible for `Mission 2012`, to
bring the party back to power in the state.

On the other hand, Bharti known for her fiery
speeches is BJP`s best bet to not just tide over factionalism
in the state unit but also to take on BSP`s Mayawati and
Samajwadi Party`s Mulayam Singh Yadav.

"Uma Bharti`s return will have no affect on the
politics of UP. BJP is marginalised in the state and will
remain so," Congress spokesperson Virendra Madan said.

While BJP sources said that with Uma Bharti`s coming,
the party would also gain backward votes, denting the SP`s
votebank besides winning back the Lodha vote which had left
BJP with Kalyan Singh.

Lodhas, though comprising of just around four per
cent, have concentrated presence in western districts of the
state and their support is important in some 100 Assembly
seats.

Lodhas have been the support base of Kalyan Singh
(also a lodha) but now with another face of their community
Uma Bharti they will find a strong alternative and it
would be interesting to see who wins them over, sources said

Kalyan Singh, who has had close ties with Bharti,
however, said that no face could save the BJP from doom in
Uttar Pradesh.

PTI