Uma Bharti heeds ‘intuition’, files nomination from TikamgarhNovember 7th, 2008 - 7:20 pm ICT by IANS
Bhopal, Nov 7 (IANS) After initially denying she would contest, former Madhya Pradesh chief minister and Bharatiya Jan Shakti (BJS) party president Uma Bharti Friday filed her nomination from Tikamgarh constituency for the Nov 27 assembly elections. The first woman chief minister of one of India’s largest states in December 2003, was reluctant till two days ago to contest the polls. “If I contest, I will not get time to tour the state and canvass for other party candidates,” she said.
However, all of a sudden she left Bhopal Friday morning and reached Tikamgarh, where after leading a rally she filed the nomination papers. What brought about a change in her mind is unknown.
Bharti told newspersons she decided to contest as she had an “intuition” that she should do so to prevent the state from going into the hands of corrupt people.
She would be facing Madhya Pradesh Food and Civil Supplies Minister Akhand Pratap Singh of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and former minister Yadavendra Singh of the Congress.
Bharti became chief minister in 2003 after the defeat of her political rival Digvijay Singh of the Congress. However, she had to quit following a warrant from a Hubli court in Karnataka for inciting violence and riots in 1994.
The case, known as the Idgah Maidan flag-hoisting case, relates to the BJP hoisting the Indian flag at the Hubli venue Aug 15, 1994, despite the local authorities prohibiting any assembly on the grounds.
One of India’s fiery politicians, Uma Bharti’s career has been through many controversial stages. She was born to a farming family in Dunda village, Madhya Pradesh, in 1959.
An avid reader of religious, philosophical and scientific books, Bharti early in her life decided not to marry and remain committed to Hindutva.
Known as ‘Didi’ to her followers, she first entered politics when she came into contact with Vijaya Raje Scindia and other Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leaders.
In 1984, at the age of 25, Bharti first ran for a Lok Sabha seat but lost, perhaps due to the sympathy vote for Congress after Indira Gandhi’s assassination that year.
In 1989, when the Ayodhya movement raised her political profile, she won. She was re-elected continuously for the next five terms. During her tenure in the Lok Sabha, she served as union minister of state for HRD, tourism, youth affairs and sports and coal and mines.
In November 2003 she ran for chief minister against seasoned politician Digvijay Singh. She was elected and became the first woman chief minister of the state.
But she could not continue with the BJP for long. She remained at the centre of intra-party wrangling ever since she stepped down as chief minister and got involved in a row with M. Venkiah Naidu, Pramod Mahajan and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.
Bharti was later suspended from the party in December 2005 when in an open act of defiance, unheard of in the BJP, she walked out of a party meeting sharply criticising the top leadership in full glare of television cameras.
Later, she floated her own Bharatiya Jan Shakti (BJS) Party with a vow to “teach the BJP a lesson”.