Uma Bharti

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Uma Bharti
उमा भारती
File:Uma Bharti, Pachmarhi, MP, crop.jpg
Uma Bharti
Minister of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation
(Government of India)
Assumed office
26 May 2014
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Preceded by Ghulam Nabi Azad
Constituency Jhansi
Member of Parliament
Assumed office
16 May 2014
Preceded by Pradeep Jain Aditya
Constituency Jhansi,Uttar Pradesh
16th Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh
In office
8 December 2003 – 22 August 2004
Preceded by Digvijaya Singh
Succeeded by Babulal Gaur
Constituency Malhara
Personal details
Born ( 1959-05-03) 3 May 1959 (age 59)
Tikamgarh, Madhya Pradesh, India
Political party Bharatiya Janata Party
Other political
Bharatiya Janshakti Party
Occupation Social, political activist
Religion Hinduism

Uma Bharti (उमा भारती) (born 3 May 1959) is an Indian politician and cabinet minister for water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation in the 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. Bharati held various state-level and cabinet-level portfolios in the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Tourism, Youth Affairs & Sports, and Coal & Mines during the second as well as third ministry of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

She is occasionally addressed by the Hindu honorific Sādhvī, a respectful Sanskrit title for a female renunciant.[1]

Bharti was one of the most prominent leaders in the controversial Ram Janmabhoomi movement of the 1980s and 1990s, 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.[2]

In the 2003 Assembly polls, she led the BJP to a three-fourths majority in the Madhya Pradesh Vidhān Sabhā (Madhya Pradesh Legislative 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.[3][4]

Early life[edit]

Uma Bharti was born on 3 May 1959 in Dunda, Tikamgarh District in the state of 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.[5] 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.[6] She describes herself in her youth as a "religious missionary".[7]

Political career[edit]

File:Uma Bharti honored Isrg Rajan.jpg
Uma Bharti honored Isrg Rajan at Bundelkhand Vikas Parishad

Rise to prominence and Ram Janmabhoomi[edit]

With the support of Vijaya Raje 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 in the Congress wave that followed the assassination of Indira Gandhi.[5] In 1989, she won in the Khajuraho Lok Sabha constituency, and retained the seat in the elections of 1991, 1996, and 1998.[5]

Bharti 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.[5] 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 Mosque.[2] Bharti was indicted for inciting a mob to violence by the Liberhan Commission that probed the incident.[8] 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.[9] She acknowledges that the BJP reaped massive political benefits from the incident.[10]

In the 1999 Lok Sabha elections, she switched constituencies and won the Bhopal seat. She became a cabinet member of the Vajpayee administration, and held various state- and cabinet-level portfolios, being Human Resource Development, Tourism, Youth Affairs and Sports, and finally Coal and Mines.[5]

Chief Minister[edit]

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.[1][11] She herself defeated her Congress opponent from the Malehra seat by a 25% margin.

Bharatiya Janashakti Party[edit]

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.[4] 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.[1] She continued to publicly defy the BJP high command, insisting that she replace Shivraj Singh Chouhan as the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, which led to several show-cause notices from the party, and eventually, to her expulsion.[5]

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.[8] However, the party had a marked lack of political success.[5]

Re-entry into the BJP[edit]

She was re-inducted into the BJP on 7 June 2011. She was tasked with reviving the party in Uttar Pradesh, ahead of the assembly election in 2012.[12][13] 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.[5] On 16 May 2014, she was elected to the Lok Sabha from Jhansi constituency by defeating Chandrapal Yadav of the Samajwadi Party.[14][15] 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.[16]

Political Positions[edit]

FDI in retail in India[edit]

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.[17]

Ram Janmabhoomi[edit]

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,"

She has also denied the presence of any conspiracy by the Sangh, while stating that she does not regret the demolition, as it furthers the goal of building a Ram Mandir there.[2][8][9][10]

Offices and Positions held[edit]

Bharti has held various posts:[7]

See also[edit]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Powerpuff girls who rule Indian politics". India Today. Retrieved 6 December 2013. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Jacob, Jeemon. "Babri Masjid Demolition: Through the Lens". Tehelka. Retrieved 6 December 2013. 
  3. "BJP meet to decide Uma Bharati's fate". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 8 February 2009. Retrieved 20 March 2009. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Uma 'happily' goes to jail ensuring party goes to town". Indian Express. Retrieved 20 March 2009. 
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 Manjesh, Sindhu. "Who is Uma Bharti?". NDTV. Retrieved 6 December 2013. 
  6. "The Worldy Ascetic". Business and Economy. Retrieved 6 December 2013. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Biographical Sketch – Member of Parliament 16th Lok Sabha". Lok Sabha website. Retrieved 20 September 2014. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Bhagwat, Ramu (2 July 2009). "Own up responsibility, Uma Bharti tells BJP". Times of India. Retrieved 6 December 2013. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 "I take moral responsibility: Uma Bharti". The Hindu. 24 November 2009. Retrieved 6 December 2013. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Uma Bharti flays Kalyan for regretting Babri demolition". The Hindu. 18 April 2009. Retrieved 6 December 2013. 
  11. "BJP sweeps out Congress from 3 states". The Tribune. 5 December 2003. Retrieved 6 December 2013. 
  12. "Back to BJP". Economic Times. 7 June 2011. Retrieved 7 June 2011. 
  13. "Uma Bharti rejoins BJP". WorldSnap News. 7 June 2011. Retrieved 7 June 2011. 
  14. 14.0 14.1 "Election Results 2014: Seven Union Ministers taste humiliating defeat in Uttar Pradesh". The Economic Times. 16 May 2014. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 "GENERAL ELECTION TO LOK SABHA TRENDS & RESULT 2014, Uttar Pradesh – Jhansi". ELECTION COMMISSION OF INDIA. 16 May 2014. 
  16. "Narendra Modi government: Full list of portfolios and ministers". The Indian Express. 27 May 2014. 
  19. "Uma Bharti, Kalraj Mishra and Rita Bahuguna among winners". THE HINDU. 7 March 2012. 

External links[edit]

Lok Sabha
Preceded by
Pradeep Jain Aditya
Member of Parliament
for Jhansi

2014 – Present
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by
Digvijay Singh
Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh
8 December 2003 – 22 August 2004
Succeeded by
Babulal Gaur
Preceded by
(Erstwhile Ministry of Water Resources)
Ghulam Nabi Azad
Minister of Water Resources,
River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation

26 May 2014 – Present
Succeeded by

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