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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 November, 2004, 08:34 GMT
High profile BJP leader suspended
BJP politician Uma Bharti
Ms Bharti is one of India's most colourful politicians
India's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has suspended a senior and controversial party member after a public row.

Uma Bharti, a firebrand Hindu nun, has also been removed from her party post of general secretary.

Ms Bharti walked out of a party meeting following a public argument with the party president saying she had not been allowed to "air her views".

LK Advani took over as party president following a series of poll defeats.

The BJP recently lost state elections in Maharashtra, one of India's richest states.

It was a major setback for the party which is trying to recover ground after a shock defeat in India's national elections in May.

Dramatic outburst

The party row, which took place in front of the media, followed remarks made by Mr Advani in which he accused Ms Bharti and other BJP officials of indiscipline, saying they were fighting in public.

Ms Bharti reacted by storming out of the meeting.

Later, senior BJP official Jaswant Singh said the party had decided to take action against Ms Bharti.

"On account of the conduct of Uma Bharti, all office-bearers of the party recommended to the party president that she no longer be kept as general secretary and be suspended from the primary membership of the party," he told journalists.

Controversial leader

Uma Bharti is one of the BJP's most controversial and colourful politicians.

A Hindu nun who has taken a vow of celibacy and is always dressed in saffron robes, in September she was freed from jail after charges against her were dropped.

Ms Bharti had been accused of inciting Hindu-Muslim violence 10 years ago - and was forced to resign as chief minister of Madhya Pradesh state as a result.

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