The BJP has fielded Pragya Thakur against Digvijaya Singh from Bhopal. Polling here will take place in the sixth phase on May 12.
Amid a raging controversy over Pragya Thakur’s remarks on former Maharashtra ATS chief Hemant Karkare, outgoing Lok Sabha Speaker and BJP leader Sumitra Mahajan has added fuel to the debate saying that the top cop became a martyr just because he died in the line of duty. Speaking to The Indian Express, Mahajan who has been representing the Indore seat in the Lok Sabha since 1989, also claimed that Karkare’s role as the chief of ATS was not above board.
“There are two aspects to Hemant Karkare. He became a martyr because he died in line of duty, but if his role as a police officer was not correct, we will say it was not correct,’’ she told the daily.
Thakur, who is contesting election from Bhopal on a BJP ticket, stirred a controversy when she said that Karkare was killed during the 2008 Mumbai attacks because of her curse.
Karkare was the chief of the ATS when he was killed during a gunfight with Pakistani terrorists in November 2008. He was made the ATS chief in January same year. Karkare who was posthumously given the Ashoka Chakra, country’s highest peacetime gallantry award, was credited with solving several serial bombing cases and led the investigation of the 2008 Malegaon blasts.
Thakur was a prime accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case. She was granted bail recently on health grounds. However, she has not been convicted by any court so far and therefore it makes her eligible to contest elections.
The BJP has fielded Thakur against Digvijaya Singh from Bhopal seat which the BJP has been winning since 1989.
Mahajan further said that Digvijaya, when he was the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, frequently accused the RSS of making bombs and being a terror outfit. She also said that arrests made by ATS from Indore were done at the behest of Digvijaya.
Mahajan added that Thakur was not the only one to be tortured in custody and sought to cite the example of Dilip Patidar, who was picked up by Maharashtra ATS for questioning from Indore in November 2008. She said that Patidar disappeared and never returned. He was killed in police custody, she said, adding that “these are the facts, someone should give the answers”.
Responding to Mahajan’s remarks, Digvijaya said that he is glad that he has been associated with Karkare who made supreme sacrifice for the country.
“Sumitra tai, I am proud that you associate me with Ashoka Chakra winner martyr Hemant Karkare. Your associates may insult him but I have always backed those talking about country’s interest, national unity and integrity,” he tweeted.
Bhopal is BJP’s citadel since 1989. The party has won every national election from here in the last three decades. The seat will go to polls in the sixth phase on May 12.