In an attempt to give a further push to her long-standing demand for a liquor ban in specific places or control the distribution policy in Madhya Pradesh, veteran BJP leader and former Union Minister Uma Bharti has announced that she will stop living at home or inside a building from November 7.
Bharti, who has also been the only woman chief minister of Madhya Pradesh so far, said she would launch a two-month-long march as a symbolic protest against the liquor policy of her own party’s government.
The march will commence on November 7 and conclude on January 12, 2023, during which she would move around Madhya Pradesh and stay out of home or any building.
“During the two-month-long movement against liquor policy, I will move around Madhya Pradesh and stay out — may be in a tent, in a temporary hut, under a tree or likewise — from November 7 till the time a suitable liquor policy that ensures safety and security of women and girls, safe periphery to places of worship, educational institutes and hospitals etc is not introduced by the state government,” Bharti said during a press conference.
Notably, it would be Bharti’s fresh attempt at an indirect attack on the Shivraj Singh Chouhan led BJP government as she has been cornering the government of her own party for the last few months. In the past, she even openly attacked Chouhan and the party’s state chief V. D. Sharma accusing them of not paying heed to her voice on the liquor policy.
Before it, Bharti wrote a letter to the BJP’s national president J. P. Nadda, however, no heed was paid to it. Finally, Bharti had to take a U-turn and soften her attack on Shivraj Singh Chouhan while praising him for good governance earlier last month. Now, Bharti is again set to make an issue of liquor with assembly elections getting closer in Madhya Pradesh.
Political experts are of the view that the fresh movement of Bharti is another attempt to make her presence felt in Madhya Pradesh politics with the elections just 14 months away. “Ever since she resigned from the chief minister’s post in August 2004, she has been ousted from Madhya Pradesh’s politics. Despite being a former chief minister, she wasn’t given any role in Madhya Pradesh, even during the elections. Now, when she wasn’t given any role at the Centre, Bharti is making all out efforts to re-enter state politics,” said N. K. Singh a political observer in Madhya Pradesh.
Singh said that Bharti had made such attempts when she had established her own political outfit – the ‘Bharatiya Janshakti Party’, but after the elections she merged it with the BJP. “Bharti thought that she would get the same response from people as she had got during 2003-04, but after elections it proved that her firebrand image of Hindutva was because of the BJP, she realised it and that is why she merged her party with the BJP to get back into mainstream politics,” Singh added.
Political observes were also of the view that Bharti is trying to re-enter Madhya Pradesh’s politics using the OBC card, which is why she alleged caste and religious imbalance in the state BJP. For instance, when Preetam Singh Lodhi was ousted from the party after using abusive language for Brahmins, Bharti stood in his support openly.
“She has been sidelined in Madhya Pradesh and now she wants to enter here again, but things have changed and individual BJP leaders have made their own space and they won’t let her enter. The BJP knows that Bharti has lost her old charisma and her warnings are not going to cause any damage and that is the reason BJP leaders are not paying heed to her now,” said another political observer, requesting not to be named.