M A I N   N E W S

Uma, 13 MLAs served show-cause notices
N.D. Sharma and agencies

Bhopal, November 29
State BJP president Shivraj Singh Chauhan here today took oath as Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh at the end of the day which saw Ms Uma Bharati fret, fume and fulminate against the party leadership for denying her the post.

Only Mr Chauhan was sworn in today. The oath of office and secrecy to him was administered by Governor Bal Ram Jakhar at Raj Bhavan.

Mr Chauhan replaces Mr Babulal Gaur, who had become Chief Minister on August 23 last year following Ms Bharati’s resignation in the wake of a non-bailable warrant issued against her in a criminal case by a Hubli court. Mr Gaur attended the swearing-in ceremony along with several party leaders. The Uma loyalists were absent.

Top party leaders — Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Mr Lal Krishna Advani, Dr Murali Manohar Joshi and Mr Jaswant Singh — had specially flown in to attend Mr Chauhan’s swearing-in, while Mr Pramod Mahajan had been camping here since last evening.

During the day, Ms Bharati dared the BJP leadership to take action against Mr Advani, Mr Arun Jaitley, Mr Pramod Mahajan and other bigwigs who, she claimed, had breached the party’s discipline at one time or another.

Before embarking upon her Bhopal to Ayodhya Ram-Roti padyatra, she told reporters that she was the real BJP and no one could take action against her. The BJP was composed of thousands of its workers and not four or five persons who had converted it into a private limited company.

She said that there could not be two laws in a party - one for the lambs and the other for the bulls.

Ms Bharati, who had walked out along with 16 MLAs from the legislature party meeting last night where Mr Chauhan was elected leader, also dared Mr Chauhan to convene a meeting of the legislature party before taking oath as CM and get himself democratically elected.

The BJP leadership, meanwhile, suspended from the party six close associates of Ms Bharati for indiscipline. They include former Union Minister of State for Coal Prahlad Patel who had emerged as the chief spokesman of the Uma camp.

The others are former adviser to chief minister (when Ms Bharati was occupying that position) Shailendra Sharma, Chairman of the State Forest Development Corporation Shiv Shankar Pateria, Chairman of the State Seeds and Farms Development Corporation Mahendra Singh Yadav, Chairman of the State Warehousing and Logistics Corporation Sudhir Agrawal and Chairman of the State Animal Husbandry and Poultry Development Corporation Shaitan Singh.

Mr Mahajan announced their suspension at a press conference at the party office.

The party today issued show-cause notices to Ms Bharati and 13 loyalist MLAs.

A day after she stormed out of the Madhya Pradesh legislature party meeting along with 14 MLAs protesting the nomination of Shivraj Singh Chauhan as Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister by the BJP Central Parliamentary Board, the party top brass took a stern view of her actions with former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee terming it as the “height of indiscipline”.

Ms Bharati was suspended from the party on November 10 last year after she walked out of the BJP central office-bearers meeting protesting the non-inclusion of “off-the-record briefings” by party leaders on its agenda and dared Mr Advani to take action against her.

Her suspension was subsequently revoked after she apologised to Mr Advani for causing “any personal hurt”.

Unrelenting in her offensive, Ms Bharati today even went on to advise Mr Vajpayee “not to become pilot in the cockpit of any aircraft which can be hijacked at gun-point”.

Refuting his suggestion that she was power hungry, she reminded him that she had quit his ministry and rejoined it only after he consistently persuaded her to do so.


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