The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday ruled out any possibility of former dissident leader Uma Bharati returning to the BJP fold though speculation was rife that she would rejoin.
Replying to a question about Uma Bharati's return, BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar said there was "no question of it".
Earlier in the day, Uma Bharati, the outspoken saffron-robed politician who had left the party after differences with the top leadership, announced that she was withdrawing her Bharatiya Janshakti Party from the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls in support of the BJP.
Uma Bharati's announcement came a day after Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) international president Ashok Singhal appealed to her to withdraw her candidates to prevent splitting of the Hindu vote.
But the BJP said that there was "no immediate move" to take her back.
Party sources pointed out that she had announced a list of 72 candidates and wondered if she had decided to withdraw all 72 candidates of the Bharatiya Janshakti Party.
Uma Bharati, who has walked out of the BJP twice, could not be contacted, presumably because she was not in Delhi.
But BJP spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad indicated that there were no immediate plans to take her back.
"Any decision will have to be taken by the party high command, only after president Rajnath Singh clears it," Prasad said.
But Javadekar was less circumspect saying, "Anybody withdrawing in favour of the BJP during the election process is a good thing. We do not want to state anything further on Uma Bharati."
Singhal had earlier brokered a similar deal between Gorakhpur MP Yogi Adityanath and the BJP - he restrained Adityanath from setting up candidates against BJP. Opposition leader LK Advani personally intervened to prevail upon Adityanath.
According to party insiders, Advani used his persuasive skills on Uma Bharati too. The two met last Sunday at New Delhi's Apollo Hospital where Advani's former lieutenant KN Govindacharya has been admitted.
There was a discussion on the Uttar Pradesh elections at Govindacharya's bedside, which seems to have left an impact on Uma Bharati, the sources said.
Advani had recently asked all Hindu forces to unite and come together.