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  Will BJP let Uma in?  


By: Ganesh Sovani
November 13, 2004

This is the million dollar question that is being asked in the by every body in India, whosoever is interested in the Indian politics, whether belonging to Sangh Parivar or otherwise, as BJP have practically remained calm and aloof from the media on Thursday (11th November), on the
backdrop of yesterday’s Uma’s dramatic walkout during it’s national executive committee meeting.

On the other hand, Uma who came out from her nephew’s residence in Delhi around 8.30 PM virtually dropped another bomb shell by reading out the entire text of her open letter to the media, before delivering it to the party president L.K. Advani. Which means, before Advani could come to know the contents of her letter, the Delhi media was completely made
aware of it? Uma’s very act releasing the letter undermines the very sanctity and the purpose of the letter.

The narration of her letter indicates that she is not at all repentant, but she is in recalcitrant mood. She says that she has not calculated whether Wednesday’s walker out incident had any profit or loss to the party. This is nothing but her clear message to the party; to weigh how much party would have to bear in the event of her being asked to stay out of the party.

She claims to be the daughter of the party and tried to play with the Hindu sentiments by saying that a daughter was asked to leave the home on day of Dhanteras. which is the first auspicious day of Diwali.

One on hand, she claimed to be still part and parcel of the party, but on the other, she refers couple of times in her letter to Advani as “your party”, which means she tries to disassociate herself with it for a while.

It is difficult to evaluate at this juncture the mood of Uma from the contents of her letter, there appears to be a small indication that she might try to float some political out fit, when she claims to follow on the footsteps of Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhaya. Perhaps a small indication of reviving old Jan Sangh?

Be that as it may, the Wednesday’s incident, which few scribes in India have tempted to describe as the ‘trap laid for Uma’ has already caused a severe dent on BJP’s over all image as a party with a discipline.

Ever since Lal Krishna Advani took over as a party president for the fifth time, things seems to be going from bad to worst for him. Barely five days ago, BJP’s MP from Raipur Sumitra Mahajan had openly threatened to quit as MP, as her nominee from Indore Uma Shashi Sharma was denied a ticket in the Mayoral poll of Indore Municipal Corporation. Given the
influence and political clout of Uma Sharma, enjoys in Indore, her ticket was finally cleared as a result of which the jubilant Sumitra Mahajan withdrew her threat of quitting as an MP.

But, the Indore incident is sufficient to indicate that even in the local mayoral polls, the intervention or (interference?) of 11 Ashoka Road is sought by the party workers and which in a way, is a bad precedent.

Uma’s open challenge essentially stemmed after she was denied a permission to speak by the party president, when she was insisting on the debate on the spate of interviews given by some senior leaders of the party, due to which a person like her was required to issue clarifications time and again. She was visibly annoyed after Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi; the
newly appointed vice president had taken a dig at her during one television interview in shoot at the party head quarters. She is also believed to have been piqued due to the second rung leaders who are presumably close to party president, inspite of the fact they are never elected
directly by the voters, which was a clear indication of to whom she was hinting at.

After RSS Hardwar meet, the fissures in the Parivar have become quite apparent, as two VHP leaders President Ashok Singhal and International secretary Dr. Praveen Togadia refused to attend the second day of the RSS conclave, which was a clear indication that VHP was not happy with the presence of LK Advani at Hardwar meet, to which they do not trust! In the meanwhile, the news had emanated that Ashok Singhal had demanded in no uncertain terms that LK Advani be removed as the party president immediately, if he was unwilling to embrace Hindutava agenda for the party.

The capital was agog with a theory that section of the BJP’s second rung leadership was deeply peeved by the manner in which Uma had spoken to a Hindi daily published from Delhi about their style of functioning, etc. during the interview which was supposed to have been an off the record .It was possibly for that reason, the party president allowed the presence of both print and electronic media for a duration larger than the normal one, as he was aware of what was in store.

However, the manner in which Uma dared Advani to take a disciplinarian action against her has virtually stunned everybody and therefore party has no option but to suspend her membership of the party for a period of six years. Uma’s act was so undemocratic and uncivilised that even her sympathisers would not dare to stand by her.

But there seems to be a gaffe in the process. As a matter of practise, no political party ever suspend any erring member, without issuing a show cause notice. In this case, BJP appears to have dispensed with issuing a show cause notice to Uma, a fact which created confusion in the minds of every one, as to whether Uma has been suspended or expelled for a period of six years. In the normal course, it is the expulsion which is supposed to be for a period of six years.

Be that as it may, Uma’s immediate act of making a sudden dash to RSS headquarters at Keshav Kunj, Jandewalan Extension and venting her feelings to RSS senior leader Madan Das Devi followed by an immediate gesture made by VHP vide President Giriraj Kishore that Uma could be rehabilitated in his organization, should she decides to give up the politics for a while, might give a credence to the theory she is being patronized by Hindutva oriented wings in the Parivar.

Talking to several RSS and BJP workers on the first day of Diwali in India, this writer has realized that Uma has a huge number of sympathisers in these organizations, and they have a strong feeling that the BJP will have to seriously think of pardoning her, should she tenders an
unconditional apology over the Wednesday’s incident. Their belief essentially stems from the fact that she is a woman, having a substantial mass base in MP and she is undeniably the architect of BJP victory in her state in the last year’s assembly polls.

Although the incumbent MP Chief minister Babulal Gaur for the understandable reasons, has endorsed party’s stern and immediate action taken against her, most of her supporters in MP at various levels have yet to react openly over the present scenario. However, her supporters
privately emphasise that party can not afford to alienate ‘OBC’ vote bank in the long run, as the assembly elections are round the corner in Bihar and Jharkhand.

Due to her mercurial character, Uma has continued to remain both as an enigma and liability to the party. A statement issued by BJP party office that those who would toe Uma’s would be seriously dealt with is sufficient to indicate what could be in offing. Even after letting in the
party after her (profuse?) apology, there is no indication that Sanyasin from Madhya Pradesh would mend her ways. On the other hand, BJP’s firm stand on her suspension would send an appropriate message to other mischievous elements in the party at various levels.

Given the fluid political situation in the country and the fact that party has to undergo an enormous exercise of re-construction, the BJP is unlikely to compromise with her for the time being, notwithstanding a precedent of letting Kalyan Singh in the party in the past.

Ganesh Sovani

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