Millennium Post

Eyeing centrestage in Madhya Pradesh

Several eyebrows were raised when Uma Bharati’s birthday was celebrated in a big way in Bhopal on 4 May. In the course of the daylong celebration, she gave a clear impression that she had no intention of keeping away from Madhya Pradesh and its politics.

When she was admitted to the party in June 2011 after her six-year-long vanvas, she was told in so many words that she would keep away from the politics of Madhya Pradesh. Thus far, she did not defy the mandate of the party. In fact, she was formally shifted to Uttar Pradesh. In order to legitimise her transfer to Uttar Pradesh, she was asked to contest for the UP Vidhan Sabha, which she did successfully.

After that, in March this year, the party leadership elevated her as national vice president. Her elevation made her followers elated and in order to display their happiness they decided to make her birthday an important event. Most of the newspapers reported that those who participated in her birthday celebrations were the ones who had left BJP after Uma Bharati’s expulsion. After that they joined ‘Bharatiya Janashakti’ – the party floated by her as an alternative to BJP.

But her mission failed. Her party was short-lived and she dissolved it and re-joined the BJP. After her re-admission she was asked to campaign for the BJP in Uttar Pradesh. But now it appears that she not in a mood to restrict her activities to Uttar Pradesh alone. Her supporters point out that after all, she is the national vice president of the party and in this capacity she can guide the party units in other states, including Madhya Pradesh.
But the manner in which important leaders of the state ignored her birthday celebration gave clear-cut impression that an overwhelming section of the party has not been able to stomach her presence in the state.

While talking to the media, she vent out her feeling when she revealed that neither the Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan nor state party President Narendra Singh Tomar has cared to greet her. ‘So far, they have not contacted me. They may do so late in the night,’ she told the media. To everybody’s surprise she further revealed that it was Digvijay Singh who informed her that large-scale preparation were being made for her birthday celebration. ‘Digvijay Singh was the first important person to greet me,’ she added.

The very fact that she divulged this inner story to the media indicated how much bitterness she harbours for the leadership of the state BJP. Prior to her birthday celebrations in Bhopal, Uma Bharati expressed her anger against the party leadership in connection with another event. The chief minster is visiting many districts of the state to launch the scheme of non-stop power supply. The scheme, known as ‘Atal Jyoti’, was to be launched in Tikamgarh district. The date for the Tikamgarh programme was fixed. Tikamgarh is Uma Bharti’s home district. Despite that she was not included in the list of guests who were to grace the occasion. When she came to know about it, she lodged her protest publicly. Such was the ferocity of her attack that the chief minister preferred to cancel the programme.

Besides Uma Bharati’s birthday celebration, two other events also took place which gave a broad indication of the dissatisfaction in and rebellious postures of leaders and workers of the party against the state leadership, including the chief minister. On 7 May during a cabinet meeting, Chief Minister Chauhan requested the ministers to reach his official residence for a person-to-person dialogue with them. But most of the ministers expressed their inability saying they had to go to their constituencies to attend various programmes including marriage functions. On this, the chief minister asked them to cancel their programmes and reach his residence at 9 pm. However, later, sensing the mood of ministers, the chief minister consulted state party chief and cancelled the proposed interaction with his ministerial colleagues. Whatever may be the reason, the ministers’ decision was nothing but open defiance of the chief minister.

Commenting on the ministers’ defiance, an observer said that they could not have taken such a posture during the chief ministership of V K Saklecha and Sunderlal Patwa.

Another indication of the loosening grip of the party leadership came to fore in the town of Sagar in the state. The Congress launched an agitation against government’s decision to hand over the work of distribution and maintenance of power supply to a private company.

There was overwhelming response of the people to the Congress’ agitation. The people’s anger against the working of the private company was so strong that Bhupendra Singh, BJP Lok Sabha member and Shailendra Jain, local BJP legislator also sat on a fast against the decision.

Looking to the gravity of the situation, state power minister, Rajendra Shukla rushed to Sagar and persuaded the fasting MP and MLA to terminate their agitation.  Later a number of persons met the Minister and complained against the working of the company. The minister decided to order an enquiry into the affairs of company.

The minister also assured  that in future the work of distribution and maintenance of power  will not be given to a private company. Whatever may be the provocation, but the incidents do indicate the changing mood of the party workers. IPA
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