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Uma Bharti walks out of meet

Lalit Shastri

Begins march from Bhopal to Ayodhya saying it is for the cause of "Ram androti"



ON THE WARPATH: BJP leader Uma Bharti addresses a press conference in Bhopal on Monday. — Photo: PTI

BHOPAL: The former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, Uma Bharti, along with 16 MLAs,walked out of the BJP legislature party meeting here on Monday evening. Soon after, she began a march to Ayodhya, saying it was for the cause of "Ram and roti."

At the meeting at the State BJP headquarters here, Shivraj Singh Chauhan was elected legislature party leader. Party general secretary Arun Jaitley conducted the proceedings. Senior leaders Rajnath Singh and Pramod Mahajan were present as central observers.

A tense atmosphere prevailed as a large number of Ms. Bharti's supporters gathered at the entrance and raised slogans in her support. They went berserk after Mr. Chauhan entered the venue in a big procession. After pulling down an arch put up at the entrance, her supporters began throwing and breaking chairs kept for mediapersons. The police resorted to a mild baton charge in which some journalists, including this correspondent, were hit.

Later, talking to journalists, Ms. Bharti said she was "sacrificed at the legislature party meeting." She said she was not interested in the Chief Minister's post; in fact, she rejected the proposal to elect her. She added that she had no grouse against the party.

But it was unfortunate "we have failed to meet our commitment to the people. Neither has the temple been constructed at Ayodhya nor have we been able to address the problem of roti," she said. "One fails to understand why we go back on the promises we make to the people at the time of elections."

Public can join her

Ms. Bharti reiterated her commitment to the BJP ideology and all that Jan Sangh founder Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya stood for. She welcomed members of the public to join her in the march. "But no MLA, Minister or MP should join her as they should continue to work to meet the party's commitment to the people." She said she had asked many MLAs and Ministers, who left the meeting along with her, to go back.

Earlier, Ms. Bharti told newspersons at her residence that the BJP parliamentary board created history, announcing that Mr. Chauhan would be the Chief Minister even before the legislature party met.

She conveyed her reaction to party president L.K. Advani and Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Jaswant Singh.

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