Uma Bharti

Uma Bharti
Minister of Drinking Water & Sanitation
Assumed office
3 September 2017
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Preceded by Narendra Singh Tomar
Minister of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation
In office
16 May 2014  3 September 2017
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Preceded by Harish Rawat
Succeeded by Nitin Gadkari
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
Tikamgarh, Madhya Pradesh, India
Political party Bharatiya Janata Party
Other political
Bharatiya Janshakti Party
Occupation Social, political activist

Uma Bharti (born 3 May 1959) is an Indian politician who currently serves as the Cabinet Minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation in the Union Government of India. She became involved with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at a 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.

Bharti held various state-level and cabinet-level portfolios in the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Tourism, Youth Affairs and Sports, and also in Coal and Mines during the second as well as third ministry of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. After Narendra Modi became the Indian Prime Minister in 2014, she was appointed the Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, and held this office until September 2017.

Bharti was among the 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.

In the 2003 State Assembly polls, she led the BJP to a sweeping win in the Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly. She defeated her Indian National Congress (INC) opponent from the Malehra seat by a 25 per cent 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. After a falling-out with the BJP, she established her own political party for a while before returning to the fold and being elected as a Member of the Legislative Assembly in the state of Uttar Pradesh. She was subsequently re-elected to the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Parliament of India.

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

Early life

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.[2] 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.[3] She describes herself in her youth as a "religious missionary".[4]

Political career

Rise to prominence and Ram Janmabhoomi

With the support of Vijaya Raje Scindia, Bharti became involved with the BJP in Madhya Pradesh while still in her twenties. In 1984, she contested Lok Sabha elections for the first time, but lost as the INC saw a surge in support following the assassination of Indira Gandhi. In 1989, she won in the Khajuraho Lok Sabha constituency, and retained the seat in the elections of 1991, 1996, and 1998.[2]

Bharti rose to national prominence when she became one of the major faces of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement, alongside L. K. Advani and others. Her fiery speeches are credited for helping the movement achieve its momentum.[2] In December 1992, she was one of several prominent Sangh Parivar figures present at a rally in Ayodhya that developed into a riot, culminating in the demolition of the Babri Mosque.[5] Bharti was indicted for inciting a mob to violence by the Liberhan Commission that probed the incident.[6] Bharti has denied that she incited the mob but says she does not regret it and that she is willing to take "moral responsibility" for the demolition.[7] She acknowledges that the BJP reaped massive political benefits from the incident.[8] In April 2017, the Supreme Court of India reinstated a criminal conspiracy case against Bharti and other BJP leaders.[9][10]

Bharti has called for the BJP to stop avoiding responsibility for the Ram Janmabhoomi movement, 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.[6]

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.[5][7]

In the 1999 Lok Sabha elections, Bharti 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 those for Human Resource Development, Tourism, Youth Affairs and Sports, and finally Coal and Mines.[2]

Chief Minister

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 platform of development, and helped along by her reputation as a Hindutva firebrand, she led the party to a sweeping victory in which it won 173 out of 230 seats in the legislature.[1][11] She was elected as a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) of Madhya Pradesh[2]

Bharatiya Janashakti Party

In August 2004, after only a year in office, an arrest warrant was issued against Bharti in connection with the 1994 Hubli riots, forcing her resignation.[12][13] In November 2004, she had a public falling out with Advani during a meeting at the BJP headquarters. This led to a suspension from the BJP, which was revoked a few months later at the insistence of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a Hindu nationalist paramilitary volunteer organisation.[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.[2]

In response, Bharti floated her own political party, the Bharatiya Janshakti Party. She stated that her party followed the ideology of the RSS, and claimed that she had the support of Mohan Bhagwat, head of the RSS.[6] However, the party had a marked lack of political success.[2]

Re-entry into the BJP

Bharti was re-inducted into the BJP on 7 June 2011. She was tasked with reviving the party in Uttar Pradesh, ahead of that state's assembly election in 2012.[14] In those elections, she was elected to the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly from the Charkhari constituency.[15][16] Subsequently, she was appointed to the position of party vice-president along with twelve others, as part of a team created to guide the BJP through the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.[2] On 16 May 2014, she was elected to the Lok Sabha from Jhansi constituency by defeating Chandrapal Yadav of the Samajwadi Party.[17][18] She served as the Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation from 26 May 2014 to 1 September 2017.[19] She became the Minister of drinking water and sanitation on 3 September 2017.[20]

Political positions

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.[21]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 "Powerpuff girls who rule Indian politics". India Today. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Manjesh, Sindhu. "Who is Uma Bharti?". NDTV. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
  3. "The Worldy Ascetic". Business and Economy. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
  4. "Biographical Sketch – Member of Parliament 16th Lok Sabha". Lok Sabha website. Retrieved 20 September 2014.
  5. 1 2 Jacob, Jeemon. "Babri Masjid Demolition: Through the Lens". Tehelka. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
  6. 1 2 3 Bhagwat, Ramu (2 July 2009). "Own up responsibility, Uma Bharti tells BJP". Times of India. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
  7. 1 2 "I take moral responsibility: Uma Bharti". The Hindu. 24 November 2009. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
  8. "Uma Bharti flays Kalyan for regretting Babri demolition". The Hindu. 18 April 2009. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
  9. India, Press Trust of (2017-04-19). "Babri case: SC restores criminal conspiracy charges against Advani, Joshi". Business Standard India. Retrieved 2017-04-19.
  10. "Babri Masjid Demolition: SC reinstated criminal conspiracy against LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti". MicNode News. 19 April 2017. Archived from the original on 20 April 2017. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  11. "BJP sweeps out Congress from 3 states". The Tribune. 5 December 2003. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
  12. "Uma 'happily' goes to jail ensuring party goes to town". Indian Express. Retrieved 20 March 2009.
  13. "BJP meet to decide Uma Bharati's fate". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 8 February 2009. Retrieved 20 March 2009.
  14. "Back to BJP". Economic Times. 7 June 2011. Retrieved 7 June 2011.
  16. "Uma Bharti, Kalraj Mishra and Rita Bahuguna among winners". THE HINDU. 7 March 2012.
  17. "Election Results 2014: Seven Union Ministers taste humiliating defeat in Uttar Pradesh". The Economic Times. 16 May 2014.
  19. "Narendra Modi government: Full list of portfolios and ministers". The Indian Express. 27 May 2014.
  20. "Cabinet rejig: Uma, Rudy skip swearing-in ceremony", The Times of India, 4 September 2017
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)
Harish Rawat
Minister of Water Resources,
River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation

26 May 2014 – 3 September 2017
Succeeded by
Nitin Gadkari
Preceded by
Narendra Singh Tomar
Minister of Drinking Water and Sanitation
3 September 2017 – Present
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