|Union Cabinet Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation|
26 May 2014
|Prime Minister||Narendra Modi|
|16th Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh|
8 December 2003 – 22 August 2004
|Preceded by||Digvijaya Singh|
|Succeeded by||Babulal Gaur|
3 May 1959 |
Tikamgarh, Madhya Pradesh, India
|Political party||Bharatiya Janata Party|
|Bharatiya Janshakti Party|
|Occupation||Social and Political Activist|
Uma Bharti (born 3 May 1959), often given the honorific "Sadhvi," is an Indian politician and Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation in Union Government of India. Raised by Vijaya Raje Scindia of Gwalior, she became involved with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at a very young age, unsuccessfully contesting her first Parliamentary elections in 1984. In 1989, she successfully contested the Khajuraho seat, and retained it in elections conducted in 1991, 1996 and 1998. In 1999, she switched constituencies and won the Bhopal seat. In the Vajpayee Administration, she held various state-level and cabinet-level portfolios of Human Resource Development, Tourism, Youth Affairs & Sports, and finally Coal & Mines.
Bharti was one of the most prominent leaders of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement of the 1980s and 90s organised by the BJP and the Vishva Hindu Parishad. She was present at the demolition of the Babri Masjid, and was later indicted by the Liberhan Commission for her role in the incident.
In the 2003 Assembly polls, she led the BJP to a three-fourths majority in the Madhya Pradesh assembly. She defeated her Congress opponent from the Malehra seat by a 25% margin. She resigned from the post of Chief Minister in August 2004, when an arrest warrant was issued against her regarding the 1994 Hubli riot case.
Uma Bharti was born on 3 May 1959 in Dunda, Tikamgarh District, Madhya Pradesh, to a family of peasants. She attended school up until the sixth standard. As a child she displayed considerable interest in religious texts like the Bhagvad Gita, which led to her being seen as a "spiritual" child. She began to give religious discourses while still a child, which brought her into contact with Rajmata Vijayaraje Scindia, who would later become her political mentor. She describes herself in her youth as a "religious missionary".
Rise to Prominence and Ram Janmabhoomi
With the support of Viyayaraje Scindia, Bharti became involved with the Madhya Pradesh state BJP while still in her twenties. In 1984, she contested Lok Sabha elections for the first time, but lost the election in the Congress wave that followed the assassination of Indira Gandhi. In 1989, she won her first Lok Sabha seat from the constituency of Khajuraho, and retained the seat in the elections of 1991, 1996, and 1998.
She rose to national prominence when she became one of the major faces of the Ramjanmabhoomi movement alongside L. K. Advani and others. Her fiery speeches are credited for helping the movement achieve the momentum that it did. In December 1992 she was one of several prominent Sangh Parivar figures present at a rally in Ayodhya that developed into a riot that culminated in the demolition of the Babri Masjid. Bharti was indicted for inciting a mob to violence by the Liberhan Commission that probed the incident. Bharti herself denies that she incited the mob, but says she does not regret it, and is willing to take "moral responsibility" for the demolition. She acknowledges that the BJP reaped massive political benefits from the incident.
In the 1999 Lok Sabha elections, she switched constituencies and won the Bhopal seat. She was inducted into the cabinet of the Vajpayee Administration, and held various state-level and cabinet-level portfolios of Human Resource Development, Tourism, Youth Affairs & Sports, and finally Coal & Mines.
Bharti was appointed the Chief ministerial candidate of the BJP for the 2003 Assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh. On the back of a fierce campaign based on a plank of development, and helped along by her reputation as a Hindutva firebrand, she led the party to a three-fourths majority in the legislature. She herself defeated her Congress opponent from the Malehra seat by a 25% margin.
Bharatiya Janashakti Party
In August 2004, after only a year in office, an arrest warrant was issued against Uma Bharti in connection with the 1994 Hubli riots, forcing her resignation. In November 2004, she had a public falling out with L. K. Advani during a meeting at the BJP headquarters. This led to a suspension from the Bharatiya Janata Party, which was revoked a few months later at the insistence of the RSS. She continued to publicly defy the BJP high command, insisting that she replace Shivraj Singh Chauhan as the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, which led to several show-cause notices from the party, and eventually, to her expulsion.
In response, Bharti floated her own political party, the Bharatiya Janshakti Party (also abbreviated BJP). She stated that her party followed the ideology of the RSS, and claimed that she had the support of Mohan Bhagwat, head of the Sangh. However, the party had a marked lack of political success.
Re-entry into the BJP
She was re-inducted in the BJP on 7 June 2011. She was tasked with reviving the party in [Uttar Pradesh, ahead of the assembly election in 2012. Subsequently, she was appointed to the position of vice-president along with twelve others, as part of a team created to guide the BJP through the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. On 16 May 2014, she was elected to the Lok Sabha from Jhansi constituency by defeating Chandrapal Yadav of the Samajwadi Party. On 26 May 2014, she was appointed by newly elected Prime Minister, Narendra Modi as the Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation in his cabinet.
FDI in retail in India
In late November 2011, when the Government of India decided to allow 51% Foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail and 100% in single brand retail, Uma Bharti threatened Walmart with arson should they enter the Indian market.
Bharti is a strong supporter of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement. She was one of the prominent leaders present during the riot which resulted in the demolition of the Babri Masjid. The Liberhan Commission that investigated the incident indicted her (among several other Sangh Parivar leaders) for inciting the mob to a riot. Bharti herself has denied the charges, but has called for the BJP to stop avoiding responsibility, saying:
"The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power twice at the Centre riding on the Ram Mandir movement wave. So it should not disown the movement and wriggle out of its responsibility for the Babri mosque demolition. I was in the BJP then and was present at the site on the fateful day. I am ready to face any consequence, even to go to jail,"
Offices and Positions held
Bharti has held various posts:
- 1988 onwards: vice-president, Bharatiya Janata Party, Madhya Pradesh
- 1989: elected to the 9th Lok Sabha
- 1990: member, Consultative Committee, Ministry of Agriculture
- 1990–92: member, Consultative Committee, constituted under the Punjab State Legislature (Delegation of Power) Act, 1987
- 1991: re-elected to the 10th Lok Sabha
- 1991–93: member, Public Accounts Committee
- 1993 onwards: president, BJP Youth Wing
- 1996: re-elected to the 11th Lok Sabha
- 1996–97: member, Committee on Science and Technology, Environment and Forests
- 1998: re-elected to the 12th Lok Sabha
- 1998–99: Union Minister of State, Human Resource Development
- 1999: re-elected to the 13th Lok Sabha (resigned on 18 December 2003)
- 13 October 1999 – 2 February 2000: Union Minister of State (Independent Charge), Tourism (resigned on 2 February 2000)
- 7 November 2000 – 25 August 2002: Union Cabinet Minister, Youth Affairs & Sports
- 26 August 2002 – 29 January 2003: Union Cabinet Minister, Coal and Mines
- 2003: elected as a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) of Madhya Pradesh
- 8 December 2003 – 23 August 2004: Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh
- 2012: elected MLA, from Charkhari Seat of Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly
- 2014; elected MP, Jhansi.
- 2014; Union Cabinet Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Uma Bharti.|
- Official Twitter
- "India's firebrand Hindu nun" – BBC News article dated 30 November 2005
- BBC article on Uma Bharti's suspension
|Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh
8 December 2003 – 22 August 2004