Senior BJP leader L K Advani and expelled party leader Uma Bharti today travelled to Raipur where they praised each other at a public function, triggering speculation about her return to the party.
Advani and Bharti went to Raipur to attend a ceremony in honour of Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh's father's death.
Bharti, expelled in 2005 on disciplinary grounds, shared dais with Advani along with former BJP president Rajnath Singh and Madhya Pradesh BJP chief Prabhat Jha.
Bharti, while addressing the function, praised the leadership of Advani and Rajnath Singh as "decent".
Speaking after Bharti, Advani said he need not say anything after her as whatever she had said was "correct".
Talking in Bharti's context, he said there was a need for only few people to speak and for the rest to listen.
The developments sparked speculation that there might have been a patch-up between Bharti and the party leadership and she may be returning to BJP.
The speculation comes at a time when moves are afoot to enable return of another expelled leader Jaswant Singh to BJP.
The party, however, downplayed the developments and pointed out that there were different views on her return.
"There is no information on anybody's return to BJP. If there is anything on this we will get back to you," party spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said.
Another BJP leader said, "Jaswant Singh's case is different. He was a disciplined soldier of the party all along till his book on M A Jinnah came out. Hardly anybody's position will be affected by his return."
The BJP leader, on condition of anonymity said, several leaders in the party fear that Uma Bharti's comeback will finish their career.
Within BJP there are proponents and opponents of Bharti's return to the party.
Advani and BJP president Nitin Gadkari are reportedly in favour of Uma's return as they feel she can be a good campaigner for the party.
Several prominent leaders like Arun Jaitley, M Venkaiah Naidu, Sushma Swaraj and Ananth Kumar are said to be opposed to her. Similarly, in Madhya Pradesh, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Prabhat Jha are believed to be against her return to the party.
Chouhan is believed to have even threatened to quit his post if Bharti returns to the party even though the BJP top brass tried to convince him that she would not interfere in her home state even if she were to come back to the party.
"Even if this condition is laid now to cool down opposition to her, these leaders feel such a firebrand leader will definitely interfere in the state's affairs in future," a BJP MP said.