Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Advani-Uma Bharati clash at a public meet

From the Times of India.

    Raging infighting in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to a boil Wednesday as party leader Uma Bharati revolted against BJP president LK Advani and stormed out of a meeting in full gaze of TV cameras.

    Uma Bharati, who had come under attack for throwing tantrums since her exit as the Madhya Pradesh chief minister, dared Advani to take disciplinary action against her even as the BJP chief and former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee looked on stunned.

    Dressed in her trademark saffron, the outspoken politician accused some unnamed party colleagues from the Rajya Sabha of constantly running her down in the media.

    "There are two or three people who brief the media off the record and run us down, and we are forced to talk on the record to defend our reputation," Bharati retorted.

    This was just after Advani took her name and that of two other BJP leaders engaged in a free-for-all ever since the former deputy prime minister took the helm of the party after its successive poll defeats.

    Undeterred by Advani's advice to "consider the chapter of indiscipline closed", Uma Bharati demanded that the issue be discussed.

    As she railed on and on, Advani cut in sternly: "When I said the matter is closed, it is closed..."

    A furious Bharati promptly got up and announced: "I am going! I wanted this issue to be discussed here. There are four-five people in this room who have nothing to do with the masses. They brief the media off the record and tear our reputation apart."

    As Vajpayee, Advani and gathered BJP leaders looked on in shock, Uma Bharati dared them: "You take disciplinary action against me!"

    With that parting shot, Uma Bharati stormed out as television cameras recorded every moment of the unprecedented outburst. The TV crew were quickly shooed out of the meeting.


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