In a move that could give a boost to BJP in Uttar Pradesh polls, Bhartiya Janshakti Chief Uma Bharti on Friday announced the withdrawal of party candidates from the assembly polls.
The announcement by the erstwhile BJP leader came a day after the VHP appealed to candidates in the assembly elections to withdraw in support of Kalyan Singh as the chief ministerial candidate and "in the larger interests of Hindus."
Bharti who parted ways with BJP sometime back however dismissed suggestions that her action was precursor to her rejoining the main opposition party and insisted that it was only prompted by VHP's appeal.
"We are withdrawing candidates following the appeal of VHP leader Ashok Singhal that division of Hindus should be avoided in the larger interest of the country, " Bharti said at a press conference here.
"There is no question of returning to the BJP," she said in reply to a volley of questions from reporters adding that the UP polls were a 'test' for the BJP.
"If the BJP fails to get clear majority in the election, it should accept that Hindu community has no faith in it," said Bharti.
Incidentally, Bharti also belongs to the backward community of Lodh of which Kalyan Singh is a top leader in Uttar Pradesh.
The former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister had put up 72 candidates in the first two phases of polls and had plans to put up 132 more for the 403-seat assembly for which seven phase poll is being held.
"We are working on the modalities to withdraw the candidates whose names are yet to be announced," she said.