Former Union minister Uma Bharti’s efforts to bail out the ruling BJP “for the sake of Hindutva” ran into rough waters on Sunday following opposition to the idea by her own supporters in Ahmedabad.
The former BJP leader, who had left the saffron party after a tiff with its leaders, had announced in Sagar (Madhya Pradesh) on Saturday that her Bharatiya Janshakti Party would withdraw its candidates in Gujarat for the sake of Hindutva in the only state where it is “safe”.
But the idea met with opposition at a press meet she addressed in Vadodara on Sunday evening, after a meeting with religious leader Asharam Bapu, who is known to be close to the ruling BJP and Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
No sooner had Bharti announced that her party candidates should withdraw for the “sake of Hindutva”, her supporters raised a hue and cry over the proposal and expressed their desire to continue in the poll arena. A visibly embarrassed Bharti then said the party workers’ views would be respected but the candidates should then contest as Independents.
The press meet, thus, ended abruptly without a clarification on whether her supporters would contest on Bharatiya Janshakti Party tickets or independently or what happens now to Bharti’s proposed return to the parent BJP.
The leader reasoned that the 2004 Lok Sabha results in Gujarat had shown that Hindutva could be in danger in Gujarat even though surveys have predicted a clear lead for the BJP and urged her supporters to withdraw or contest as independents.
She later left for Delhi without resolving the issue even as her supporters vowed to continue their fight against the BJP, led by Modi.