Given the task of leading the BJP in the run-up to the 2012 elections in UP, Uma Bharti began it from Nighasan village over the weekend.
On Saturday, she participated in a protest at the village, 55 km north of Lakhimpur, to take on the BSP government over the rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl, allegedly by the local police.
“Isn’t it ironic that a state ruled by a woman has registered such crime against a girl?” she said.
On Sunday, while travelling from Lakhimpur to Lucknow, Bharti was accorded a welcome at several spots on the way. During the stopovers, she reiterated her resolve to fight against injustice, crime and corruption.
“The time has come to overthrow the BSP government in Uttar Pradesh,” she repeatedly told her audience.
Clad in the traditional saffron, the sadhvi, who belongs to the Lodh caste, attracted large crowds.
There are around 4% Lodhs in the state, who had moved away from the BJP following the exit of Lodh leader Kalyan Singh. In several districts, such as Hamirpur, Jalaun, Farrukhabad, Kannauj and Etawah, covering around 30 constituencies, they play a crucial role.
The BJP hopes Bharti will help bring them back into the party fold and attract politically-neutral backward castes like the Pals, Nishads and Mauryas as well.