BJP leaders in Madhya Pradesh feel Uma Bharti's re-entry in the party fold will help it in the state assembly elections slated around the year end.
However, Congress is of the view that ten years of BJP rule has set-in a strong anti-incumbency wave in the state which even the re-entry of Bharti would not be able to contain.
"BJP is certainly going to benefit in the coming Assembly polls with the re-entry of Bharti in the party fold as she has her own dedicated vote in the state that resulted in the victory of her candidates in five seats in the 2008 Assembly polls," BJP MLA and spokesman Vishwas Sarang said.
In 2008, BJP minus Uma Bharti had won 143 seats and later it wrested five more seats from Congress in the by-polls, taking its tally to a total of 148.
Though Uma Bharti had herself lost the polls from her home turf Tikamgarh, her party won five seats in 2008 and managed to corner over 12 lakh votes totalling nearly 5.5% of the total votes polled in the 215 seats that her party candidates contested, senior BJP leader Shiv Shankar Pateria said.
Besides, her party candidates got more than 5,000 votes in 75 seats, they were at the third place at 27 places, secured second position on 11 seats and ensured the defeat of the ruling BJP candidates on at least 17-18 seats, senior BJP leader and former MLA Narendra Birthare said.
Though politics may not be a simple arithmetic, but if these numbers are added to BJP's 2008 performance, then it will strengthen the party in the upcoming Assembly polls, party sources said.
BJP vice president Uma Bharti had recently said, "I am sure (chief minister) Chouhan, on his own, would easily win 150 seats in Madhya Pradesh and it is now our responsibility to add to it. The BJP would definitely win more seats this time."
However, discounting the claims of Bharti, state Congress media department chairman Manak Agrawal said, "Strong anti-incumbency wave has set in Madhya Pradesh and Congress will encash on it to form its government in the state by winning over 150 seats this time."
Both Bharti and another BJP vice president Prabhat Jha, who was suddenly removed from the post of state BJP president, will ensure the defeat of Shivraj Singh Chouhan's corrupt, anti-women and inefficient government, Agrawal said.