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Uma floats Bharatiya Janshakti Party

Referring to her party's symbol ? sun, she said the lotus (Bharatiya Janata Party) would bloom only in sunlight.

india Updated: May 06, 2006 19:05 IST

Expelled BJP leader and former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Uma Bharti on Sunday floated the Bharatiya Janshakti Party in this ancient temple town.

After offering prayers at the world-renowned Mahakaleshwar temple, the firebrand leader, in the presence of supporters, formally launched the party.

Uma also announced the names of about half-a-dozen office-bearers and unfurled the party's saffron flag, which bears a sun symbol.

Bharti said the Bharatiya Janshakti Party (BJP) was formed to "save the BJP" and, referring to the sun symbol in the party's flag quipped that the lotus would bloom only in sunlight.

"Former BJP leader Sanghpriya Gautam will be my senior vice-president and  Raghunandan Sharma, who quit the saffron party, will be the general secretary," she said. Suspended BJP leader and former Delhi Chief Minister Madan Lal Khurana was also present on the occasion.

Describing staunch loyalist and former Union Minister Prahlad Patel as her "Lakshman and Hanuman," Bharti claimed though the grassroots workers played a pivotal role to strengthen the BJP, certain people have captured the reins, ignoring their concerns.

"Though I have come here as I was urged by Bharti, I am not joining the BJP at this juncture. My relationship with Uma stretches back to her childhood and I respect her greatly," Khurana told mediapersons after arriving here by road at about 1245 hrs.

When pressed on whether he would eventually join the BJP, Khurana said he would take a decision after deliberations with Bharti in Delhi on May 7.

"I also have the Third Front option. Until 1998, the BJP was run like a family but later people in air-conditioned rooms converted it into a private limited firm. These leaders, who are sans mass base, even entered the Rajya Sabha," he alleged.

Claiming that the BJP's future was extremely bright, Khurana felt several key leaders would quit the BJP, within a month, after being frustrated by its policies.

He declined to comment on whether he had severed links with the RSS. 

The constitution of the new outfit, which was drafted on Saturday at Dhar, was also approved in the presence of Bharti, before she formally launched the party.

Representatives from various states attended the meeting, which was held at Nrisingh Ghat, along the Kshipra.

The former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister will disclose her future strategy at a public meeting scheduled for 1730 hrs on Sunday at the local Ghantaghar.

The BJP, led by Bharti, swept to a historic victory in the December 2003 Madhya Pradesh assembly election unseating a decade-old Congress regime. The firebrand leader was sworn in as chief minister, as per the party's earlier announcement, but within a year a non-bailable warrant was issued against her in the Hubli rioting case forcing her to bow out of office.

As per Bharti's wish, Babulal Gaur became her successor. After her exoneration by a Karnataka court, Bharti's supporter MLAs time and again demanded that she be reinstated.

A change of guard did take place on November 28, 2005 but Vidisha MP Shivraj Singh Chouhan was elevated to the coveted post.

An incensed Bharti embarked on a 'Ram Roti Padyatra' to Ayodhya, and was expelled from the party following her outbursts against senior BJP leaders including  LK Advani.