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After VHP, Uma backs BJP
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 13
What appears to be a quid-pro-quo between the BJP high command and former Madhya Pradesh chief Minister Uma Bharti, she today announced the withdrawal of Bharatiya Janshakti Party candidates from the UP Assembly polls.

The announcement by the erstwhile BJP leader, who was expelled from the saffron party for her outrageous behaviour at a party meeting, came a day after the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, at the behest of the RSS, appealed to candidates in the Assembly elections to withdraw in support of Kalyan Singh as the chief ministerial candidate and in the larger interests of Hindus.

While Bharti, who parted ways with the BJP sometime back, dismissed suggestions that her action was precusor to her rejoining the main opposition party and insisted that it was only prompted by the VHP's appeal, sources said that she would join the saffron party after some time.

"We are withdrawing candidates following the appeal of VHP leader Ashok Singhal that division of Hindus should be avoided in the larger interest of the country", Bharti said at a hurriedly called press conference here.

“There is no question of returning to the BJP,” she said in reply to a volley of questions from reporters adding that the UP polls were a 'test' for the BJP.

If the BJP fails to get clear majority in the election, it should accept that Hindu community has no faith in it, asserted Bharti.

Incidentally, Bharti also belongs to the backward community of Lodh of which Kalyan Singh is a top leader in UP.

Bharti had put up 72 candidates in the first two phases of polls and had plans to put up 132 more for the 403-seat assembly for which seven phase poll is being held.

“We are working on the modalities to withdraw the candidates whose names are yet to be announced,” she said. She was not prepared to react when asked whether she would campaign for the BJP in view of withdrawal of her candidates.

Without naming the BJP, Bharti alleged that there was a well planned conspiracy by some leaders who issue statements that she was returning to the BJP during every election time.

Yesterday, VHP leader Ashok Singhal had issued an appeal in the larger interests of Hindus to candidates in the Assembly elections in UP to avoid division of Hindu votes by withdrawing in support of Kalyan Singh as the chief ministerial candidate.

Singhal said he would be making efforts to bring back Uma Bharti to BJP . “I have always stood for consolidation and in her (Uma’s) case too I would try my best to bring her back,” he said.

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CD row: EC seeks status report on FIRs
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 13
The Election Commission has sought a status report from the Uttar Pradesh administration on the FIRs filed against BJP leaders and others in connection with the circulation of the controversial CD recently.

The commission has written to the state chief electoral officer seeking the status of the FIRs filed against those involved in the CD containing "inflammatory campaign material" against Muslims, EC sources said today.

The EC directed state poll officials that in case the CDs were still in circulation, they should be seized forthwith, they said.

The move comes in the wake of Congress demand that the EC pass an administrative order to stop distribution of the controversial CD.

Besides BJP president Rajnath Singh and senior party leader Lalji Tandon, the commission directed that FIRs should be filed against all those responsible for producing the CD, including those who acted in it and wrote its script and those involved in its release, distribution and display.

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