Rift in Uma's party over Gujarat poll issue

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Bhopal, Nov 30 (UNI) Admitting differences of opinion between Bharatiya Janashakti Founder-President Uma Bharti and the party's governing body, the latter's Member Prahlad Patel today said that BJ candidates would remain entrenched in the Gujarat assembly poll arena.

''The body decided not to pull out nominees so as to maintain the BJ's credibility,'' the former Union minister told reporters here today.

On the question of who was superior -- the firebrand sadhvi or the body -- Mr Patel said that the process of party formation was still continuing and the body was the apex entity.

When asked whether the BJ would take action against Ms Bharti for going against the body by expressing a desire to withdraw candidates from the Gujarat fray, he said, ''that is the party's internal matter and I am confident that it will be sorted out.'' Dodging a query over the sanyasin's role in Gujarat canvassing, Mr Patel said that he would be part of the campaign.

When asked whether all this could be construed as an indication of Ms Bharti's possible re-entry into the Bharatiya Janata Party, he said, ''the question should be put to her. She is sticking to her previous statement over re-entry.'' Asked what that previous statement was, Mr Patel said that it had been issued in writing earlier.

''Ms Bharti's statement about withdrawing from the Gujarat race has created confusion in the BJ rank and file. That is why I am clarifying that party candidates will also not be pulled out of Madhya Pradesh byelections to the Khargone Lok Sabha seat and Sanver assembly seat. Ms Bharti will canvass in this state,'' he added.

Objecting to the Gujarat issue being publicised as a Bharti vs Patel fight, he claimed that unity of opinion existed in the organisation.

''I will observe a vow of silence between December 12, 2007 and January 2, 2008. During that interval I will lead an agitation highlighting the BJ workers' plight and the problem of sugarcane farmers,'' Mr Patel added.

UNI

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