The Bharatiya Janata Party has officially named Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur as the party’s candidate from Madhya Pradesh’s Bhopal in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. The party announced her name along with three other names from Madhya Pradesh. Thakur will take on senior Congress leader and two-time chief minister of Madhya Pradesh Digvijay Singh from the constituency.
Earlier in the day, Sadhvi Pragya joined the BJP in Bhopal. Soon after joining, she met senior BJP leaders like Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Ramlal, and Prabhat Jha. “I have formally joined BJP, I will contest elections and will win also,” she was quoted as saying by ANI after meeting them.
A BJP stronghold for last three decades, Bhopal will go on polls on May 12. The battle for the capital city is being considered crucial for Digvijaya who was handed the ‘difficult’ seat by Kamal Nath. The last time that a Congress candidate emerged victorious from here was in 1984. During the last general elections in 2014, BJP’s Alok Sanjargot won by a margin of over 3,50,000 votes, polling 7.14 lakh votes against 3.43 lakh votes for Congress candidate P.C. Sharma.
Apart from Thakur in Bhopal, BJP has fielded KP Yadav from Guna, Raj Bahadur Singh from Sagar and Ramakant Bhargav from Vidisha. Sitting Vidisha MP External Affairs Minister won from the constituency at least twice but decided not to contest polls this time.
Also read: Navjot Sidhu takes a dig at PM Modi’s nationalism day after a controversial statement
Pragya had earlier grabbed headlines following her arrest in connection with September 2008 Malegaon blast case. She was, however, acquitted in the case by an NIA court. During an interview in a TV show in October 2018, Thakur revealed she was brutally tortured in illegal police custody for 23 days during interrogation. She also complains of being denied access to a lawyer and family members. Thakur also claimed the aim of interrogating her was to pressurise to confess to false charges against her.
“This was certainly a conspiracy hatched by the Congress-led UPA government, which resulted into my nine-year ordeal. The conspiracy was meant to endorse the bogey of saffron terrorism, a term coined by P Chidambaram who was the former home minister. I am innocent,” she was quoted as saying.