Debating India


Uma Bharti sends in resignation

Neena Vyas

Tuesday 6 July 2004, by VYAS*Neena

NEW DELHI, MAY 18. The Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, Uma Bharti, today gave her letter of resignation to the Bharatiya Janata Party president, Venkaiah Naidu.Later, she announced to the press that she would "fax a copy to the Governor from Kedarnath," where she would be going to "meditate." She said this before the Congress president, Sonia Gandhi, declined to accept the prime ministership.

Ms. Bharti had stated categorically on Monday that her resignation was not an issue when she announced her opposition to Ms. Gandhi taking the oath of office of Prime Minister. And on several occasions in the past - at least three times - she had resigned from the Vajpayee Government at the Centre for one reason or another and each time she had proceeded to Kedarnath, a place of pilgrimage. If the first resignation was sparked by her dislike for her senior Cabinet colleague, Murli Manohar Joshi, who, she had alleged, was not allowing her to function, this latest resignation threat was justified on the ground that "national security was in danger" and that India’s "self-respect was in danger."

Asked when would the new government in Madhya Pradesh be formed as her entire government would have to go the moment her resignation was accepted, Ms. Bharti said "that was not the case ... I have already asked Babulal Gaur [ministerial colleague] to take charge in my absence, including authority to hold Cabinet meetings." She said abdicating her responsibility did not amount to not honouring the people’s mandate, and she saw no need for the election of a new leader by the BJP State legislature party, as those were "mere constitutional technicalities."

Party sources said that in the event of Ms. Gandhi taking the oath of office as Prime Minister, Ms. Bharti would, indeed, send in her resignation to the Governor but the party high command would ask her to withdraw it.

Asked whether the people of the country would decide the outcome of elections or the BJP and its leaders, she said: "I am also part of the people, I can express my feelings." On whether constitutional provisions or the BJP’s formulas should be applied, she said: "constitutional provisions are a technicality."

See online : The Hindu


in The Hindu, Tuesday, May 18, 2004.

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