M A I N   N E W S

Uma suspended after protest walkout
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 10
A well-planned high-voltage publicity drama today boomeranged on BJP President L.K. Advani as party bickerings were telecast live, leaving the party no options but to suspend defiant general secretary Uma Bharti from the party on charges of indiscipline.

Uma Bharti, who was appointed party general secretary only this week, invited party’s wrath as she egged on Mr Advani to take disciplinary action against her.

As a shocked Mr Advani, along with former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and senior leader Jaswant Singh, while sitting on the dais at a meeting of newly constituted office-bearers watched, she left the hall at the party headquarters when Mr Advani dismissed her demand for discussion on the issue.

The BJP president said he had already ruled that the issue of indiscipline was a closed chapter and there was no need for anybody to speak on the issue. He asked the party workers to follow the party discipline line of not talking against each other through the media.

Ms Bharti, who has been at the centre of intra-party wranglings ever since she stepped down as Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister and was in a row with former party president M. Venkiah Naidu, Pramod Mahajan and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, was red with anger as she left the hall.

An irrepressible Ms Bharti said the issue could not be construed as closed. She said disciplinary action should also be taken against four or five BJP Rajya Sabha leaders who were carrying on a campaign against her by their ‘off-the-record’ briefings.

In the face of such an attack the affected people had no other option but to defend themselves by giving their version to the media.

Mr Advani reiterated that the matter was a closed chapter and this applied to everybody. However, Ms Bharti protested saying that this was not the way to deal with the situation and walked out of the meeting. There were no attempts to dissuade her and the office-bearers continued with the meeting.

After about half-an-hour, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Jaswant Singh announced to the media the decision to remove Ms Bharti from the post and suspend her from primary membership.

He said the meeting had passed a ‘unanimous resolution’ expressing itself against the behaviour of the former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister.

Mr Vajpayee, who was a mute spectator to the whole drama of Ms Bharti’s walkout from the meeting, supported action against her.

He said senior party activists and also ordinary party workers should maintain discipline.

Mr Arun Jaitley, party spokesman, said the disciplinary action against Ms Bharti followed a “unanimous suggestion from all office bearers which the president accepted”.

Ms Bharti rushed to RSS headquarters at Jhandewalan, where she held parleys with Sangh leaders shortly after her suspension from BJP’s primary membership.

RSS sources said she apprised Sangh’s joint general secretary and in charge of BJP affairs Madan Das Devi of the events.

The VHP said Uma Bharti was welcome in the VHP if she left politics.


Vajpayee backs suspension
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 10
Backing the suspension of former firebrand sanyasin Uma Bharti from the BJP, former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee today emphasised the need to maintain discipline in the party.

Mr Vajpayee, who was present when Ms Bharti staged a walkout from the meeting of the party’s central office bearers here at the party headquarters asking party president L. K. Advani to take disciplinary action against her, said senior party activists as also ordinary party workers should maintain discipline, party spokesman Arun Jaitley quoted the former Prime Minister as saying.

Mr Jaitley said the disciplinary action against Ms Bharati followed a “unanimous suggestion from all office bearers, which the president accepted”.

He said Mr Vajpayee in his concluding remarks also expressed concern over the condition of farmers in the country and wanted the party to carry out a detailed study in the matter.

Mr Vajpayee outlined the issue of farmers as one of the principal issues before the country and regretted that the suicides by farmers were going up by the day, Mr Jaitley said.

Stating that after Ms Bharti’s walkout and the resultant suspension the meeting continued smoothly, Mr Jaitley said the party would take up two important issues - internal security with special emphasis on Naxalite issue and the problems faced by the farmers - at its three-day national executive in Ranchi, beginning November 24.

He said the party’s core teams on Bihar and Haryana would meet on November 16 and 17 respectively to review the preparations ahead of the assembly polls.

The party would also convene a meeting of its states’ ministers on the issue of governance on the lines of earlier meeting of state Chief Ministers.

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