This Article is From Dec 28, 2022

"You're Free From Any Political Bond": Uma Bharti To BJP's Core Vote Bank

Uma Bharti, long sidelined by the BJP leadership, was addressing a gathering of Lodhi community, which wields considerable influence in Madhya Pradesh

Uma Bharti, a former Chief Minister, has lost prominence in recent years

Senior BJP leader Uma Bharti has sparked a buzz in political circles after she told a community, a core BJP vote bank in Madhya Pradesh, that they should "look around" and decide which party to vote for.

The former chief minister, long sidelined by the BJP leadership, was addressing a gathering of Lodhi community, an OBC caste group that wields considerable political influence in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. Ms Bharti belongs to the same community.

At the event in Bhopal, a video of which has now gone viral, Ms Bharti said, "I will come on the stage of my party, I will ask for the votes of the people, I never say that you are Lodhi, you vote for BJP. I tell everyone to vote for BJP as I am a loyal soldier of my party. I would not expect from you) that you will be a loyal soldier of the party."

"You have to look around you, your interests. If you are not a party worker, you have to decide about yourself. Remember, we are bound by the bond of love, but you are free from any political bond as far as am concerned," she said amid applause from the audience.

The remarks were made when BJP MLA Pradyuman Singh Lodhi and Union Minister Prahlad Singh Patel's brother and BJP MLA Jalam Singh Patel were present on the dais.

The Lodhi community has been a core support base of the BJP for a long time. But, there is resentment within the community after OBC leader Pritam Lodhi, a relative of Ms Bharti, was expelled by the BJP over a remark against the Brahmin community.

Earlier this month, the election of Ms Bharti's nephew Rahul Singh Lodhi from the Kharagpur Assembly seat was set aside by the high court over wrong information in nomination papers.

Ms Bharti, once among the tallest leaders in Madhya Pradesh, has been missing from the political landscape of the state for a while now.

Earlier this year, she hit headlines after vandalising a liquor shop in Bhopal. Her repeated demands for prohibition did not draw any significant response her own party's government.

Responding to Uma Bharti's remark, Congress spokesperson Bhupendra Gupta said, "Uma Bharti's remarks show how deeply she is being neglected by the BJP. The core workers of the party are being neglected for those who have been brought into BJP by horse-trading. It also shows the internal condition of the BJP."

"The people of the state have sympathy with Uma Bharti. She has her contribution. If the BJP tries to crush that contribution, they will have to face its consequences in the 2023 polls in the state," he said, according to a report by news agency ANI.