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Uma changes plans; to court arrest

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Last updated on: August 24, 2004 15:12 IST

Former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Uma Bharti, facing a non-bailable warrant in connection with a 10-year-old criminal case, will court arrest before the magistrate when she reaches Hubli on Wednesday, BJP Karnataka unit president Ananth Kumar said on Tuesday.

Kumar, along with the party state office-bearers, will receive Bharti on her arrival by train.

Kumar said Bharti, whose plea to drop the charges against her in connection with incidents relating to the hoisting of the National Flag at the disputed Idgah Maidan here in 1994, was dismissed by the District and Sessions Court yesterday, will not seek bail nor any relief from any court.

The BJP would also launch an agitation demanding withdrawal of 'false cases' against Bharti with Hubli being the 'nodal point', he said.

"If the situation goes out of control, the government has to take responsibility," he said.

On the 'Tiranga Yatra' planned by Bharti from Hubli to Jallianwallabagh, he said the party will decide after consulting her.

He alleged the state government decided to reopen the cases against her at the instance of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi as  'political vendetta' against the BJP's campaign demanding removal of the 'tainted ministers' from the UPA government.

Earlier, Bharti left for Hubli early on Tuesday saying she will surrender before the trial court.

She was seen off by several state ministers, including Water Resources Minister Anup Mishra, Cooperative Minister Gopal Bhargav, Tribal Affairs Minister Om Prakash Dhurba, Public Health Engineering Department Minister Sunil Naik among others.

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The train started after a drama when a BJP worker laid on the tracks, prompting police to remove him forcefully.

Before boarding the Goa Express Bharti told reporters that several BJP supporters were accompanying her.

The train will reach Hubli on Wednesday, via Khandva, Bhusaval, Manmad and Pune.

New Chief Minister Babulal Gaur also met Bharti.

The police team from Karnataka, which was in Bhopal to execute the court warrant issued in the decade-old case in Hubli, returned after Bharti conveyed possibility of law and order situation in the state deteriorating if they arrested her in the state, party sources said.

"I am not leaving the state. I will be back whenever needed. If the police plan to arrest me on the way, I would surrender," she said.

The Karnataka Police, however, has said it will arrest Bharti when she enters the state.

DGP S N Borkar said the four-member team led by Dharwad District Superintendent of Police D Rupa, which was despatched on Sunday to execute the NBW, will arrest Bharti. The team is on its way back from Mumbai.

The team could not proceed to Bhopal as they could not get a connecting flight and also because Bharti decided to come by train to Karnataka, he said.

Borkar said they had not yet decided the place of her arrest.

Borkar said 4,000 policemen would be on duty in Hubli. Prohibitory orders have been extended to be in force till tomorrow evening.

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