After Sushma, Uma bows out of 2019 polls

After Sushma, Uma bows out of 2019 polls

Uma Bharti

After Sushma Swaraj, another woman Cabinet minister in the Modi government, Uma Bharti, has announced to bow out of the coming Lok Sabha elections.

The Union external affairs minister and the Lok Sabha MP from Vidisha, Swaraj had announced last month at an election rally in Indore that she would opt out of the coming parliamentary polls.  

Following suit, former Madhya Pradesh chief minister and Lok Sabha member from Jhansi, Uma Bharti announced here on Tuesday that she would not contest the 2019 general elections, and instead work only for campaigns for cleaning the Ganga and construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya.

The Sadhvi, who rose to prominence with the commencement of the Ramjanmabhoomi movement in the early 90's, has had a chequered career in Madhya Pradesh politics.

She represented the Khajuraho Lok Sabha seat from 1989 to 1999 and then shifted to Bhopal. In 2003, she spectacularly led the BJP campaign against the 10-year-old Digvijaya Singh rule in the state as party’s chief ministerial candidate. However, her success was short-lived as she was forced to resign from the chief minister’s post in eight months following issuance of a warrant against her by a Hubbali court in Karnataka in connection to a tri-colour hoisting row.

After being cleared from the case, she made a strident bid to regain the chief minister’s post, but the party thwarted her attempts. Ignoring her claim, the BJP leadership chose Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who took the oath of chief minister in November 2005.

Furious over being denied a second term, Uma Bharti formed her own party —Bhartiya Jan Shakti — which won four seats in the 2008 Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections.

Isolated and short of resources, Hindutva’s erstwhile stormy petrel began to send overtures to the parent party. Her persistent efforts bore fruits in 2011 when she was taken back in the BJP fold.

However, the re-entry was with a rider that she will not interfere in Madhya Pradesh BJP politics and let Chouhan rule the state without hindrance.

She agreed to the condition, and after a brief sabbatical from politics, became active in Uttar Pradesh. She was BJP’s chief ministerial candidate in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections in 2012.

In 2014, Uma was keen to return to Madhya Pradesh politics and contest from Bhopal. But the party high command asked her to fight from Jhansi seat instead, which is close to her native district Tikamgarh in Madhya Pradesh.  

For quite some time, her health has not been sound. Yet, she campaigned in some constituencies in the just–concluded Assembly elections in the state.

Talking to journalists here, she said that she was not renouncing politics, but was only staying away from it for one-and-a-half years, and planned to devote to the time to the causes of the Ganga and Lord Rama.