Un­ease in MP BJP over Bharti’s ‘Vya­pam con­spir­acy’ re­mark

Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur) - - Htnation - Ran­jan ran­jan.sri­vas­tava@hin­dus­tan­times.com

Union drink­ing water and san­i­ta­tion min­is­ter Uma Bharti’s re­mark that her name was dragged into the Vya­pam scam as part of a po­lit­i­cal con­spir­acy has caused a flutter in the BJP, and in­sid­ers be­lieve it could lead to an in­tra-party feud ahead of the as­sem­bly elec­tions.

Ad­dress­ing a press con­fer­ence here on Tues­day, Bharti had listed her mother’s demise, sis­ter-in-law’s sui­cide, and her name be­ing dragged into the Vya­pam scam as the three most ag­o­nis­ing mo­ments in her life. No­tably, a charge sheet filed at a spe­cial court here had men­tioned Bharti’s name but not as an ac­cused in the multi-layer ex­am­i­na­tion scam.

Bharti had served as the chief min­is­ter of Mad­hya Pradesh un­til Au­gust 2004, when a Kar­nataka court is­sued an ar­rest war­rant against her in con­nec­tion with the 1994 Hubli ri­ots. Forced to re­sign, she chose Babulal Gaur as her suc­ces­sor. She was ex­pelled from the party a year later for re­belling against a de­ci­sion to re­place Gaur with Shivraj Singh Chouhan. She was re-in­ducted into the BJP only in 2011.

A se­nior BJP leader said on con­di­tion of anonymity that although Bharti re­frained from nam­ing the per­son re­spon­si­ble for hatch­ing the al­leged con­spir­acy, there was “hardly any doubt” about who she was re­fer­ring to.

The Congress, led by AICC gen­eral sec­re­tary Digvi­jaya Singh, had al­leged over two years ago that cer­tain el­e­ments tam­pered with ex­cel sheets from the Vya­pam of­fice by re­plac­ing the word CM with Bharti’s name at sev­eral places. They sought a CBI in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the al­leged at­tempt to pro­tect chief min­is­ter Chouhan.

“I will not com­ment if Uma Bharti was in­volved in the scam or not, but if she is ac­cus­ing some­one of hatch­ing a con­spir­acy against her, she prob­a­bly means the state govern­ment or the spe­cial task force (that probed the case),” said Vivek Tankha, Congress Ra­jya Sabha mem­ber and se­nior Supreme Court lawyer.

An­other BJP leader noted how Bharti’s ac­cu­sa­tion came at a time when Chouhan in­ducted Jalam Singh Pa­tel, Lodhi leader and the younger brother of party MP Prahlad Singh Pa­tel, into his cabi­net.

“She hails from the Lodhi com­mu­nity too. So, con­sid­er­ing that she has been side­lined by the state BJP for the last 12 years, the emer­gence of other Lodhi lead­ers as its OBC face is bound to set alarm bells ring­ing in her camp,” he said.

Prahlad Singh was one of Bharti’s aides when she was ex­pelled from the BJP in 2005. How­ever, he later fell out with her and re­turned to the party.

The party leader said Chouhan’s de­trac­tors could rally be­hind Bharti in the com­ing months, pro­vided she takes the is­sue for­ward and the BJP lead­er­ship does not in­ter­vene.

BHOPAL:

HT FILE

De­spite in­ter­ven­tion from the govern­ment and Supreme Court, fresh col­lege en­trants are of­ten sub­jected to days of phys­i­cal and men­tal abuse by their se­niors.

Uma Bharti

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