The very name of Uma Bharti conjures up the picture of a firebrand leader. The Union Minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation is known to speak her mind.
There have been instances in the past when she did not shy away from criticising her own party leaders.
Speaking at Aaj Tak’s flagship show Seedhi Baat, she said that she is neither tired nor retired and would be in politics till her last breath. She said that her Tiranga Movement played a part in improving the party’s position from 4 to 40 and is going to form the government.
Uma Bharti spoke freely in reply to pointed questions from Sweta Singh in Seedhi Baat. She said she thinks that the UP CM Yogi Adityanath is an improved edition of herself and that she will not allow any obstacles in his way.
On incidents like Unnao and Kathua, Uma Bharti said that one cannot view incidents like Kathua and Unnao through the lens of politics and she would empathise with the victims. She said that she is ready to campaign wherever Shivraj Singh Chauhan wants her to.
On the issue of Ram Mandir she said that she has put her life on the line for it and it will see fruition.
Neither tired nor retired, will be in politics till my last breath
Atal Behari Vajpayee used to say that neither tired nor retired but seems that you have slowed down, what happened? Replying to this question Uma Bharti said, “Neither I am tired nor retired, I was elected as a member of parliament at the age of 27, became a union minister at 36, a chief minister at 42, won 6 Lok Sabha and 2 Vidhan Sabha elections. I have won elections in two states. I led the biggest movement in Assam against infiltration. I had led the Tiranga movement in Karnataka that consolidated the party’s position from 4 to 40 and now in a situation where it can compete for the government.
I have won elections in two states. I led the biggest movement in Assam against infiltration.
“Uttar Pradesh has been my focal area, I had worked at block levels during the Ram Janmabhoomi movement. I had displaced a 10 year old sitting government in Madhya Pradesh. I am neither tired nor retired I will work with Modi ji as his lieutenant.”
When Uma Bharti was asked that somehow the 9 to 5 label does not suits you, she said, “Politicians have to sing paeans for themselves and criticise others. I do not take pleasure in either but will have to defend myself. I have worked for 50 years in my 58-year life, and I want to continue working in the future too. I shall be in politics till my last breath, I want to work as an associate of PM Modi. It is just that there is a little change in the pattern.”
Haven’t seen anyone as enthusiastic and energetic like Narendra Modi
On being asked if she is cross with someone that led to her decision to not contest elections for three years, Uma Bharti said, “Why should I be cross with someone, this is the best time of my life. I am working with someone who has introduced positive innovations in Indian politics. I have met with most political leaders of the country and they have heard my discourses. Indira Gandhi, Chaudhary Charan Singh, Nelson Mandela, and Margaret Thatcher, I have seen them. But I have never come across someone with as much enthusiasm and energy as Narendra Modi.
He is some ten years older to me and to even speak about taking a break and slowing down in context of him is embarrassing.
“Everyone faces a time in life, Atal ji took a break of 7-8 years, even Modi ji saw such times when he was asked to stay out of Gujarat for 7-8 years – however, he used the time to accomplish a lot of work.”
I have put my life on the line for Ram Mandir, it will be built
Uma Bharti was asked that even the government’s pattern of thinking seems to have changed – talks of Ram Circuit are now part of the narrative even as Ram Lala is seen under a tent.
She replied, “Three times I thought I could die, one during Ram Mandir, flying the tricolour in Karnataka and once in Madhya Pradesh when the issue of forming a government came up, the way Digvijay Singh opposed me with all the force at his disposal. I had to throw myself into those situations because BJP was weakened there. I had to take steroids for a time.
I had bet my life on the issue of Ram Mandir, it will be built, at the very spot where Ram Lala sits.
“The court is hearing two issues, one which asks if there was a conspiracy, I have said that the question of a conspiracy rises when something is being done surreptitiously, we were in the open waiting for the bullets, where is the conspiracy?
“The second issue is whether that is the birthplace of Lord Ram, which has been proved. I say all political leaders should sit down and have a discussion because that place is the birthplace of Lord Ram, revered by the Hindus, Babur cannot be seen as a God of the Muslims. There can be an out of court settlement, otherwise, we shall wait for the court’s verdict, but the mandir would come up at the very place where Ram Lala sits.”
Yogi Adityanath is my improved edition
It is said that Yogi ji is your reflection? Replying to this question Uma Bharti said, “I believe Yogi ji is an improved edition of myself. He is some 13 years younger to me. He has never held any official position till now, he has grown up in a convent (ashram), he leads a very disciplined life, that is why I see a superior image of myself in him. I bless him with all my heart.”
When Uma Bharti was asked if she feels that Yogi has taken over her space she said,
No, no there were four faces projected ahead of the polls, Yogi was not one of the faces during the elections. Elections featured Rajnath ji, Kalraj Mishra, Keshav Maurya and myself as the faces. I shall not let any obstacles stand in the way of Yogi and I will remove any such obstacles ruthlessly.
You voiced your reservation on the issue of dining at Dalit homes? Replying to this question Uma Bharti said, “Prime minister has compiled a list of backward, under developed villages and asked us to go there and find out the reasons for their backwardness. As far as the issue of dining at Dalit homes is concerned I still hold the view that if someone thinks that they can aid in their upliftment by dining at their places, they need to clear their line of thinking.”
To be always aware of which party I belong to on every issue, I won’t be able to do it
When questioned about her tough stand on the Unnao incident, Uma Bharti replied, “In incidents like Kathua and Unnao your thoughts must be with the girl, the victim, you cannot look at such incidents through the lens of politics, or religion or caste, I want to meet the mother of the eight-year-old girl, I want to embrace her, the mother of that girl is probably unable to sleep, she is probably unable to put food in her mouth. The girl had already lost her father, the woman in me would react, I cannot think about my party affiliations at such times.”
Modi taught me – party is bigger than the self, country is bigger than the party
A bridge collapsed in Kashi (Varanasi), another in Kolkata and charges of corruption were levelled – in such situations are you a party member or a human first? Replying to this the minister said “My party has taught me to be human first, this is my party which has taught me that party is bigger than self and the country is bigger than the party. Modi ji has taught me. On the incident Yogi ji had said that no one found responsible would be spared, these are murders. Infrastructures are coming up fast, is there a possibility that tight timelines are proving to be the death-lines for some.”
I had told Amit Shah – I do not want to be the minister of Ganga Rejuvenation
The ministry of Ganga Rejuvenation was taken away from you, are you cross at that? Uma Bharti said, “In October 2016 I had sent a message to Amit Shah from Kedarnath that I do not wish to remain minister for Ganga, Prime minister will have to take up the Ganga Rejuvenation issue in his own hands. PMO will have to take up the issue. Most of the ground work has been completed, now it is time for development to happen. In such a time the Prime minister should take it up and see it through. When it reached the Prime minister he said Uma behen continue, for now, let us see how we could get this done. Then the charge went to Niting Gadkari, he somehow credits all achievements as mine.”
I shall campaign anywhere Shivraj wants me to
When Uma Bharti was asked if she will campaign for the elections in Madhya Pradesh she said,
I shall go wherever he wants, wherever Shivraj wants me to be, I had been to Bhopal.
When asked that there are many complaints against the Shivraj Singh-led government, Uma Bharti said, “It is a good thing, whenever there will be complaints we shall have an opportunity to correct ourselves.”
The opposition is uniting under compulsion, Congress is weakening
Is the countrywide, opposition unity a challenge for the BJP? When asked about this, Uma Bharti said, “Those who are uniting are not really united, they are uniting because of political compulsion. These are small parties, Congress’ days are ending. Mother and son are touring everywhere, the sister comes up with a guest appearance sometimes, and there is no spunk in it. “