BJP eyes benefit of Pragya Thakur on many seats, Congress concerned
New Delhi, April 22: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is eyeing to get the benefit of its Bhopal candidate Pragya Singh Thakur a.k.a Sadhvi Pragya on many seats in the state and this has made the Congress a concerned lot.
Thakur, who joined the BJP on April 17, 2019, is an accused in the 2008 Malegaon terrorist bombings. She faced arrest for terror charges but was granted bail on following the dropping of charges under the MCOCA section by the Special National Investigation Agency. She is currently under trial for multiple charges under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
Before joining the BJP, Thakur had been alleging that she was tortured during detention because of the Congress-led government wanted to prove its 'Hindu Terror' theory.
On Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had defended her candidature, and said it was a symbolic answer to all those who falsely labelled the rich Hindu civilisation as "terrorist" and asserted that "this symbol will prove costly for the Congress".
After joining the BJP, Thakur has created a political storm with her of controversial comments. Her statement about 26/11 hero Hemant Karkare invited sharp criticism.
Last week, Thakur had said that Hemant Karkare was killed by terrorists during the 2008 Mumbai attacks because she put him under a curse for torturing her during the course of investigating her involvement in the Malegaon blasts case.
She later withdrew her statement and apologised but maintained it was her right to put before the public what had happened to her during her detention. Thakur also said that she was withdrawing her statement because anti-national elements were being benefitted from it.
Thakur has also admitted that she had participated in the Babri Masjid demolition on December 6, 1992 and was "proud" of it.
The Election Commission (EC) has issued a notice to her but Thakur says that she stands by her statement.
The Congress has realised that it is a well-planned strategy of the BJP to present Thakur not only in Bhopal but every seat of Madhya Pradesh as a symbol of Hindutva and nationalism.
Earlier the Congress was anticipating the impact of Thakur on two adjoining seats of Bhopal, but now it has become more concerned. Bhopal will go to the polls on May 12.
Thakur is pitted against Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh, who has been forced to contest from Bhopal due to the factionalism in the Congress.
Since Thakur was born in Bhind district of Madhya Pradesh, therefore the BJP is planning to use her on all the seats of Gwalior-Chambal region.
Madhya Pradesh has 29 Lok Sabha seats spread across six different regions. The Gwalior-Chambal region has four Lok Sabha seats, where the Congress won 27 seats out of 34 in the last assembly elections.
The BJP is also planning to press Thakur for campaigning in Bundelkhand and Malwa regions, which have eight and four Lok Sabha seats respectively.
Mahakoshal region has six Lok Sabha seats, Vindhya regions four, and Madhya region three Lok Sabha seats, which includes the state capital Bhopal.
Politically astute Digvijaya Singh has started projecting him as a devout follower of Hinduism. During his campaigning, he has fed cows and visited Hindu temples.
He, however, as a strategy has not launched a direct attack on Thakur. Before filing his nomination on Saturday, he along with his wife took blessings of Shankaracharya Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati. It is believed that what Digvijaya wanted to say about Thakur was said by the Shankaracharya. The saint questioned the Sadhvi title of Pragya by saying that Sadhvis don't use surnames like Thakur. The Shankaracharya has pressed his followers to help his disciple Digvijaya Singh, who is pitched against the hardcore Hindutva of the BJP.
Voting will be conducted in Madhya Pradesh in four phases. In the first phase on April 29, six constituencies will be voting. On 6 May, seven constituencies; on May 12 eight constituencies; and on May 19, remaining eight constituencies will vote to elect their representatives.