The Bhartiya Janata Party leader Uma Bharti had earned herself the title of sanyasin from a very young age when she was asked to perform penance and give pravachans (religious discourses).
Born in May 1959 in Dunda, Tikamgarh District of Madhya Pradesh, Uma comes from a lower middle-class peasant family and has attended school only till the sixth standard.
- Uma was known to be a spiritual child and was often described as a religious missionary.
- She apparently began to have unusual experiences at the age of six when she found herself giving religious discourses in villages and also felt the presence of a dual existence.
- She was once engaged, but apparently broke-off because of her religious commitments. She wanted to become a brahmacharini until her mentor told her that it meant total renunciation.
- Uma has had an interesting childhood and was raised by Vijaya Raje Scindia of Gwalior who influenced her to join the BJP.
- She contested her first election seeking a Lok Sabha seat from Madhya Pradesh when she was only 25
- She takes inspiration from women freedom fighters like Rani Laxmibai and Swami Vivekanand.
- She has held numerous posts in the past. Her vast political career started in 1984 when she contested for her first parliamentary elections. But she became famous in 1989 with her first Lok Sabha seat win from Khajuraho. She managed to retain that seat in the next three elections (1991, 1996 and 1998) and became a prominent figure.
- In 1999, Uma changed her constituency and contested from Bhopal where she successfully won.
- She has been a prominent member of the Sangh Parivar. And was blamed for being involved in instigating a crowd in Ayodhya that led to the infamous Babri Masjid riot.
- She also took moral responsibility for the demolition when she was accused by the Liberhan Commission.
- Uma was the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh in 2004 when she resigned due to her involvement and a subsequent arrest warrant. The arrest was regarding the 1994 communal riots in Hubli, Karnataka, that left six people dead.
- In the past, Uma has held various portfolios such as Tourism, coal and Mines, Human Resources Development and Youth Affairs & Sports.
- In 2005, Bharati was expelled from her favourite party, the BJP, on charges of indiscipline only to be taken back in 2011. Later, she was appointed as one of the 13 Vice Presidents in Rajnath Singh’s team to guide BJP in 2014’s Lok Sabha elections.
- Bharti’s biggest win happened in 2003 when she won against Congress’ Digvijaya Singh in Madhya Pradesh by a three-fourths majority, no less. She became the first woman Chief Minister in a land dominated by men.
- Recently, when a Congress member questioned Fellow Cabinet Minister Smriti Irani’s educational qualification, she rose to defend her and questioned Sonia Gandhi’s capabilities of heading the UPA government.
- She has always stayed loyal to the saffron robe due to her religious beliefs.