The BJP has been battling a barrage of criticism over its decision to field Thakur, a terror accused, in the Lok Sabha elections from the state capital.
Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister on Tuesday came out in support of the party’s decision to field 2008 Malegaon blast accused Pragya Singh Thakur from Bhopal. Backing the decision, the three-time CM came down hard on the Congress party for the torture it meted out against the Sadhvi.
“You (Congress) committed 3 crimes. You defamed saffron, you meted out inhumane torture to a daughter of India, you misused laws. So I say this with full responsibility that yes BJP fielded Sadhvi Pragya against Digvijaya Singh,we’re proud of her,” Shivraj Singh Chouhan said at a public meeting ahead of Pragya Thakur’s nomination from Bhopal.
Chouhan showered praise on Pragya, terming her a saint, and also called upon voters to punish the Congress for the “inhumane torture” it subjected Thakur to. “Our sister Sadhvi Pragya is a saint and has dedicated her life to the service of the nation. Our sister was given inhuman torture in the name of saffron terrorism. Those who have misued law will be taught a lesson by the people of Bhopal.”
He also attacked Congress candidate and senior leader Digvijaya Singh and the party’s chief Rahul Gandhi, saying, “Digvijay Singh and Rahul Gandhi conspired to link saffron to terrorism. It is the Hindu culture which talks about happiness, prosperity and welfare for everyone.”
“Your vision is dark, your vision includes dried fields, your vision is the poor starving. We have decided upon a green Bhopal, we have decided upon a Metro Bhopal. We want happiness for everyone, how are you going to compete with us?” he added.
The BJP has been battling a barrage of criticism over its decision to field Thakur, a terror accused, in the Lok Sabha elections from the state capital. The saffron party, however, has remained undeterred and argued that the charges against her were false and fabricated and that they were done by the erstwhile Congress government to link Hindus to terror. Even PM Modi had defended her at a rally last week.
On Tuesday, sitting Bhopal MP Alok Sanjar filed his nomination as the ‘dummy’ candidate from the seat. A dummy candidate gets the party symbol if the nomination of the first candidate is rejected by the poll body as per norms.
Pragya Thakur on Babri demolition and former Maharashtra ATS chief Hemant Karkare
The BJP candidate in the fray from Bhopal has been in the news for the wrong reasons for the past few days. On Tuesday, an FIR was filed against Thakur on EC orders for her remarks in a TV9 interview on the 1992 demolition of the Babri Masjid. Moreover, a report on her controversial remarks on former Maharashtra ATS chief Hemant Karkare has been submitted to the poll panel, Indian Express has reported.
The case against Pragya Thakur
In September 29, 2008, two bombs rocked Maharashtra’s Malegaon, killing six people. Citing lack of evidence against her, the NIA gave Thakur a clean chit in 2015, however, the trial court refused to discharge her from the case and observed that it was difficult to accept NIA’s claim seeing that it was her motorcycle that was used in the blast.
While the court dropped the charges under the MCOCA against her, Thakur is being tried under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. She was granted bail by the Bombay High Court in 2017.
Bhopal Lok Sabha constituency
It is going to be a tough battle for Digvijaya Singh who is contesting from Bhopal, a seat that the BJP has retained since 1989. The Bhopal Lok Sabha seat is scheduled to vote on May 12 has been a BJP stronghold for the last 30 years. The year 1984 was the last time the Congress had won from the Madhya Pradesh capital.