The return to the BJP fold of Uma Bharti is so touching that one can be forgiven for seeing it as the final scene in a film. With LK Advani making the news of her return public and BJP president Nitin Gadkari smoothening things out, Ms Bharti's return should be seen as the last scene of the second part of a trilogy that has till now charted the rise and fall of the BJP. What her re-entry into the 'mother ship' will mean for the party will, of course, be the stuff of the 'final' part of 'The Lords of the Wring'.
But Ms Bharti is not the only prodigal returning. Azam Khan returned from the wilderness to the Samajwadi Party (SP), admittedly a party in the wilderness. But as is the wont with born-agains, he's already in the act, charging Mulayam Singh Yadav's left-, right- and centre-hand man who was responsible for throwing Mr Khan out, Amar Singh, of being a “supplier”. With not much of an infrastructure left in the SP, Mr Yadav has no choice but to project Mr Khan as, perhaps, the new 'improved' Amar Singh.
What has set Hindi heartland aflutter is that both Ms Bharti and Mr Khan have made their different ways back into the heart of the Indian political beast: Uttar Pradesh. Much of the landscape has changed in the state since we last saw Ms Bharti pacing up and down within the BJP ranks and since Mr Khan, well, did his bit in the SP. Chief minister Mayawati has had relative peace, given that the SP, the BJP and the Congress have been pretty much in exile from the UP theatre. One now will have to wait a bit for us to know whether the two have come back brighter or are just 'returned goods'.