Source: The Straits Times
On April 8, 2004 The Straits Times reported, "A firebrand Hindu nun and leader of one of India's poorest states has emerged as a rising star of the country's ruling party as it seeks re-election in this month's general election. Ms. Uma Bharti, 43, who has taken a vow to remain celibate, governs the sprawling central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh and is one of the best-known leaders of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). A charismatic speaker, the saffron-robed leader's ability to work the crowds is being tapped by the BJP-led coalition to reach out to voters in the run-up to the election that opinion polls tip the alliance to win. In the campaign for the election, due to be held in phases from April 20, Ms Bharti has targeted India's main opposition Congress party and, in particular, Italian-born Congress president Sonia Gandhi. 'No foreigner will become India's prime minister as long as a sanyasin (nun) like me is alive,' she told a recent rally."