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Uma the ascetic tells Advani:Nothing will affect me

Thursday 11 November 2004

Uma Bharati said she continued to be an ordinary worker of the BJP, but showed no signs of repentance as she insisted she saw no indiscipline in the manner she walked out of a meeting after a showdown with Advani in full view of TV cameras.

"Your (Advani’s) decision does not affect my situation or future course, as I stand for the cause of the country’s poor," Uma Bharati said in her letter to Advani, which she read out to reporters after a long day of avoiding the media at her Vasant Kunj residence in south Delhi.

"I have already renounced material life," she explained, but kept reminding the party in many ways that she was one of the most prominent leaders BJP had for the backward and poor.

"I have to find the way to serving the country’s poorest man following the principles of Mahatma Gandhi and Deen Dayal Upadhyaya" (the Hindu ideologue who mentored top BJP leaders).

Uma Bharati was suspended for six years and served a show cause notice after she defied Advani’s stern directive for discipline, hit out against her colleagues and stormed out of the BJP headquarters during a televised meeting.

The mercurial leader described Wednesday’s events as a quirk of fate, pointing out that she had attended the meeting only after leaving her holiday plans midway at Advani’s request.

"I kept looking for a thread of indiscipline in my conduct, but I could not find it," the former Madhya Pradesh chief minister wrote to Advani.

A little emotionally, she said what happened was "perhaps beyond your or my control."

"On Dhanteras (a Hindu festival of prosperity) a daughter was asked out. But I cannot think of this episode in terms of whether it will prove auspicious or inauspicious."

Asserting that she believed in "(god) Ram, bread and political purity", as her mission and would continue to fight for the poorest.

"I am an ordinary worker of the party which hundreds of thousands have shaped with their love and hard work. I cannot even think of harming the party. I don’t want to see whether it is a loss for me or the party or the people".

"Let the party forge ahead under your and (former prime minister Atal Bihari) Vajpayee’s guidance."

She signed off with good wishes, the letter leaving the big question unanswered - whether she still considered herself a member of the BJP.

"I have said whatever I had to say in the letter. It should be clear," Uma Bharati said, firmly refusing to take any questions as she headed for a meeting with leaders of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the BJP’s Hindu nationalist mentor.

Uma Bharati also apologised to reporters who had camped outside her residence the whole day waiting for a word from her.

Press teams that flocked to the residence early Thursday were told that Uma Bharati was taken ill and had been advised rest, even as Swadeshi Jagaran Manch (SJM) leader Muralidhar Rao and Hindu ideologue K.N. Govindacharya called on her.

A doctor reportedly examined the temperamental leader - who had returned to New Delhi after a pilgrimage to the Himalayas early this month - and advised her rest.

Family sources said Bharati had asked to be left alone, even as a battery of mediapersons remained outside her modest flat in the sprawling residential neighbourhood.

She has been avoiding the media ever since she stormed out of a meeting convened by Advani Wednesday, during which she accused some of her colleagues of maligning her reputation through the media.

The rest of the BJP, which had clammed up after the embarrassing outburst, continued to maintain a cautious silence on Uma Bharati. None reacted to her letter.

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