‘Karkare cursed, Godse a patriot’: Three times Sadhvi Pragya embarrassed BJP in thick of tough election season

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New Delhi | Published: May 17, 2019 4:32:30 PM

Ever since she was named as the party candidate from Bhopal, Pragya has been an embarrassment to the BJP on a number of issues.

Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur , lok sabha elections 2019Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur (PTI)

Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur has caught media’s attention the moment Bharatiya Janata Party announced her candidature for the prestigious Bhopal seat in the Lok Sabha elections. A terror accused, currently out on bail, the BJP had hoped Pragya would act as a counter to the erstwhile United Progressive Alliance government’s alleged “Hindu terror” agenda, and defeat it decisively. While the outcome will be known on May 23, the Sadhvi’s campaign rhetoric so far has caused more trouble to the BJP than it could have possibly imagined.

Known to have views firmly aligned to the strong right, Pragya fit perfectly into the nationalism plank that the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi contested these elections on. A woman victim falling prey to the devious ploys of Congress leaders in their bid to defame Hindus was just the narrative the party needed. However, Pragya’s outbursts have spectacularly failed to drive home the message that the BJP wished to convey in Bhopal, and beyond.

Ever since she was named as the party candidate from Bhopal, Pragya has been an embarrassment to the BJP on a number of issues. Not only has she faced the reprimand of the Election Commission, even the BJP has had to distance itself from its own poster girl. In Bhopal, Thakur is up against senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh, a Congress veteran who served as chief minister of Madhya Pradesh between 1993 and 2003. She was asked to contest from Bhopal after senior BJP leaders and former CMs Uma Bharti and Shivraj Singh Chouhan decided not to contest polls.

From calling Nathuram Godse a nationalist to claiming that 26/11 warrior Hemant Karkare died due to her curse, here is how Sadhvi Pragya Thakur left her party on a sticky wicket on multiple occasions

Nathuram Godse a patriot:

Sadhvi Pragya left everyone in shock when she termed Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse a patriot. Referring to south superstar Kamal Haasan’s statements where he declared that Nathuram Godse, a HIndu, was free India’s “first terrorist”, Pragya said Godse was a true patriot and those trying to brand him a terrorist would be taught a lesson by the voters. The BJP had to rush in to control the damage and immediately dissociate itself with the remark and even sought an explanation from the leader within 10 days. Pragya later apologised for her remark and clarified that she respects Mahatma Gandhi. Party president Amit Shah had to personally jump into the controversy and said that the remarks were contrary to the ideologies of the BJP.

Hemant Karkare died due to my curse:

Soon after being named as BJP candidate from Bhopal, Sadhvi Pragya stirred up a controversy by suggesting that Mumbai ATS chief Hemant Karkare died during the 26/11 carnage due to her curse. Karkare was investigating charges against her in the Malegaon terror attack case, and Pragya alleged that she was subjected to immense torture in the course of the investigation. She said that she had cursed Karkare for the torture he subjected her to and it was this curse that resulted in his killing at the hands of terrorists on November 26, 2008. The comments against the patriot who laid down his life in the line of duty led to a massive uproar. Taking action against her following criticism across the country, EC had to ban her from campaigning for 72 hours.

Babri Masjid demolition claim:

On April 21, Sadhvi Pragya said in a television interview that she took “tremendous pride” in the fact that she had gone to demolish the Babri Masjid and that she had climbed atop the structure to break it. The Sadhvi also said she would play her part for the construction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya as it is not a political but emotive issue. The Election Commission, taking note of her remarks, had ordered the police to register an FIR against her and also issued her a notice for breach of the model code of conduct. The EC notice said Thakur’s remark was a violation of chapter 4 of the model code of conduct, which pertains to maintenance of harmony between castes, communities, religious, linguistic groups.

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