Both Bhartiya Janshakti chief Uma Bharti and the BJP remained cold to the possibility of her return to the BJP-fold even as she withdrew her party candidates from the UP polls.
She said she acted in response to VHP leader Ashok Singhal’s appeal to support Kalyan Singh as the chief ministerial candidate "in the larger interests of Hindus."
But she was quick to add, “There is no question of returning to the BJP. The UP polls are 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."
The BJP too hinted showed it is not flattered by her move. Asked if she was inching closer to her return to the party, BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar merely said, “the question does not arise. Anybody willing to withdraw from contest in favour of the BJP is a good thing. We cannot say anything more.”
Interestingly, Singh’s appeal to her was preceded by a statement from L K Advani that all those who had left the BJP should do a re-think and return to strengthen the BJP for the sake of nationalism.
Singhal was also instrumental in brokering a deal with another rebel leader and MP, Yogi Adityanath, who ended his brief rebellion against official BJP candidates.
Singhal and the VHP are backing Kalyan Singh because he was Chief Minister of UP when the Babri Masjid was pulled down by mobs in 1992. Bharti belongs to the same backward community of Lodh as Kalyan Singh who is a top leader in Uttar Pradesh.
Bharti, whose party has been unsuccessful in Punjab and Uttaranchal polls, had put up 72 candidates in the first two phases of polls held in UP areas including Bundelkhand. She had plans to put up 132 more for the 403-seat assembly.
Bharti said Singhal would issue another statement after the polls if BJP failed to win clear majority in the UP polls and then she would appeal to the saffron party to withdraw from the political scene. She blamed BJP leaders for reports during every election time she was returning to BJP.
"Earlier in Uttarakhand and Delhi and now in UP, some leaders are issuing statement that I am joining BJP which is not true," she said.
Singhal had said a division of Hindu votes should be avoided as the Ram temple would come up at the dispute site in Ayodhya only if Kalyan Singh became Chief Minister.