Nervous BJP-RSS seek Uma Bharti’s help in UP; she declines, BJP plans Modi's 3-day sojourn in Varanasi
Uma Bharti, the once fire brand Hindutva leader has reportedly chosen to stay away from the election campaign in Uttar Pradesh, citing health reasons
Nervous by the reports suggesting that BJP is facing a rout in UP assembly polls, parent organisation of the BJP, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has reportedly sought former Union Minister Uma Bharti’s help to mobilise people in favor of the saffron party, NH has learned.
However, as per the insiders, the once fire brand Hindutva leader has refused and chosen to stay away from the campaign, citing health reasons.
RSS leader Arun Kumar was tasked to meet Bharti in Jalaun (UP) ahead of the fourth phase and request her to canvas for the BJP.
“But Bharti refused to help her own party in this crucial fight,” said a UP watcher.
“Because she has not forgotten the humiliation. The treatment she was meted out, has sent out a wrong signal among her supporters who mainly belong to the Lodh community and hard-core Hindutva supporters scattered in Bundelkhand and some part of the Avadh region,” added the UP watcher.
People who are in the know of the development told NH that “after sensing the change on the ground, RSS rushed to rescue its political wing – BJP”.
Arun Kumar, who was appointed last year to coordinate between the ideological mentor and the political entity, was authorized to take steps accordingly. He is said to have suggested that PM Modi should do more rallies in Uttar Pradesh.
“BJP views UP polls as a semi-final before the 2024 general elections. If the party loses the most crucial state, it will be difficult for them to come back to power in 2024,” said an insider.
Pertinently, Uma Bharti comes from the Lodh community which forms about 7 per cent of the Hindu population in Uttar Pradesh. Traditionally, the Lodh community voted for the BJP, but many believe that this time, “unhappy over the representation within the saffron party” they may switch over to the Samajwadi Party-led alliance.
Fire brand Hindutva leader and the woman face of the Ayodhya movement, which culminated in the demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992, Bharti enjoys clout among the community in Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh also.
Saffron-clad Bharti who is known as Sadhvi, led BJP’s charge in 2003 in Madhya Pradesh which ended the 15 year-long Congress rule in the state.
According to sources, after three phases of voting in Uttar Pradesh, RSS brasses brainstormed and have formulated a new strategy to make up for the loss:
BJP would reach out to old cadres, leaders like Uma Bharti
Caste leaders, saints, Akharas and religious bodies have been asked to hit the ground in favor of the BJP
Starting from Varanasi, Modi would give more time to UP
BJP leaders should address the menace of stray-cattle effectively in coming phases
Notably, Uma Bharti and many old guards of the saffron party including Vinay Katiyar have so far remained off the ground. Like Bharti, Vinay Katiyar belongs to the OBC category and was one of the most radical faces of the Ayodhya movement.
RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat also held a meeting with the cadres and BJP leaders recently. Those who were present in the meeting said that Bhagwat expressed his unhappiness over the situation in Uttar Pradesh.
It is believed that prime minister Narendra Modi's three days sojourn in Varanasi which starts from March 2 was planned following the RSS meet as the last-ditch effort to galvanise BJP-RSS cadre.
Modi’s three-day Varanasi stay will coincide with the sixth and seventh phase of polls in Uttar Pradesh. The BJP supporters believe that Modi’s three-day sojourn is critical, and it will change the party's performance in the rest of the phases. A total of 111 seats of Eastern Uttar Pradesh will go to poll in the last two phases.
“In the high octane campaign, it has emerged that the BJP has gained in the third phase a bit in comparison to the initial two phases, but still the gap is very high. Strategists associated with the saffron party are still not confident about the outcome,” said a Lucknow based analyst.