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Uma Bharti's Somnath visit sparks speculation of her return to BJP

The former Madhya Pradesh chief minister was expelled from BJP in December 2005 following which she floated her own Bharatiya Janshakti Party.

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DNA Web Team

Updated: Nov 21, 2013, 01:44 PM IST

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Expelled BJP leader Uma Bharti accompanying L K Advani to Somnath temple today set off speculation about her return to the party fold but party leaders said that it will not happen anytime soon.

Advani, along with his wife Kamla, daughter Pratibha, Uma and state BJP in-charge Balbir Punj offered prayers at the famous Shiva temple from where he had started his rath-yatra to Ayodhya in 1990. Since then, the former BJP president pays a visit to the temple on September 25 every year.

Advani, however, sidestepped questions on the possible return of Uma, who was expelled from BJP in December 2005 on disciplinary grounds soon after she spoke openly against him
in his presence at a party function.

"She (Uma) had expressed the desire to come with me to Somnath and that is the reason she is here," Advani said refusing to entertain any questions on whether the firebrand leader was set to rejoin BJP. 

Uma did not speak to the media.

Party seniors, when contacted, said "nothing much should be read" into Uma accompanying Advani to Somnath. They denied that she is likely to return to BJP anytime soon. 

Uma floated her own Bharitya Janshakti Party after she was expelled. She had set off similar speculation when in June she travelled in a chartered plane with Advani to Raipur to attend the funeral ceremony of Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh.

At that time, it was maintained that since she had known Singh and his family for long, she wanted to attend the funeral and had gone with Advani.

However, the BJP top brass is not ruling out her return to the party. BJP president Nitin Gadkari and Advani are keen on taking her back but Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan and senior central leaders like Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj and M Venkaiah Naidu are not in favour.

Chauhan, who had met Advani on this issue sometime back and even threatened to resign if Uma comes back, fears she would become active in Madhya Pradesh where she has been chief minister earlier, sources said.
   
Uma, a Lodh OBC leader, is known for her fiery oratory and many feel she can revive the party in Uttar Pradesh and even Bihar. Gadkari wants the Hindutva leader to campaign in UP, where the Ram temple issue is set to hot up after the Allahabad high court verdict, according to party sources.

The return of Jaswant Singh in June, nine months after he was summarily thrown out by BJP for writing a controversial book on Pakistan founder Mohammed Ali Jinnah, also brightened hopes of her supporters.

They are now hoping that Gadkari, known for his skills of taking along all sections of the party, may find a way out. She has also kept relatively quiet for the last two years, something rare for a polemical leader like her.

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