File photo of BJP candidate Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur addressing a party workers meeting for Lok Sabha polls, in Bhopal | PTI
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If Bhopal has become one of the most-keenly followed Lok Sabha constituencies in this election, it’s solely because Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, who is facing trial in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, is fighting from the seat.

Pitted against her is former chief minister of Madhya Pradesh and Congress veteran leader Digvijaya Singh. But it is not just any Thakur vs Thakur battle in Bhopal.

In a deeply polarising campaign, Pragya Thakur’s candidature has ensured that half the battle is already won for the BJP, not just in Bhopal but across India.

In choosing to name Pragya Singh Thakur from Bhopal, the BJP, in its party chief Amit Shah’s words, has ensured that “the mastermind of the conspiracy to raise the bogey of Hindu terror” is punished.


Also read: Sadhvi Pragya’s nomination is no advertisement for Hindutva, whatever you may think of it


For the BJP, which has been raising the ante against the Congress for “linking peace-loving Hindus to terrorism” especially after Aseemanand’s acquittal in the Samjhauta blast case, Pragya Singh Thakur is the perfect candidate to take on Digvijaya Singh. The party believes that Singh has been one of the most shrill voices in “propagating dubious and mischievous idea of Hindu terror”.

Immediately after joining the BJP Wednesday, Pragya Thakur said that she was keen to contest from Bhopal and was confident of her victory. As her candidature was announced the same day, she launched an offensive against Digvijaya Singh, accusing him of defaming “Sanatan Dharma”.

Courting controversy, she said Friday that former Mumbai ATS chief Hemant Karkare died because she had “cursed him”. Karkare, who died in the line of duty during the 26/11 terror attacks, was part of the team that had investigated the Malegaon blast case. She later apologised for her remarks.

But with Pragya Singh Thakur contesting the elections, ‘Hindu terror’ is now one of the key poll planks for the BJP.


Also read: Sadhvi Pragya’s Karkare rant ‘embarrasses’ BJP, which sees her as a ‘double-edged sword’


After the spectacular victory of the BJP in Uttar Pradesh and the appointment of Yogi Adityanath as the chief minister, the party believed that it had sent a strong enough signal to its Hindu support base and there wouldn’t be a need to field a saffron-clad candidate in the immediate future.

But then the Congress started projecting a soft Hindutva image and its leader, Rahul Gandhi, declared that he was a Shiv-bhakt. His party said he was a janeu-dhari Brahmin as he went temple hopping. But the Congress has never been able to shake off the discomfiture of its association with the ‘Hindu terror’ issue.

And with Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur’s nomination, the BJP has put the Congress on the backfoot by going for a no-holds-barred campaign against ‘Hindu terror’. The issue will haunt the Congress, especially in those constituencies where its leaders have been directly linked with making ‘Hindu/saffron terror’ remarks.

As the election pitch queers, all eyes will now be on Bhopal. Digvijaya Singh, who had decided to stay away from active electoral politics for 10 years after losing to Uma Bharti-led BJP in Madhya Pradesh in 2003, is once again facing a do-or-die battle.


Also read: Rubbing salt on our wounds: Malegaon residents on Sadhvi Pragya fighting election


Just a fortnight back, Uma Bharti had said that she would campaign against Digvijaya Singh in Bhopal. And now, he is up against another saffron-clad challenger – Pragya Singh Thakur.

The author is the former editor of ‘Organiser’. Views are personal.

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11 Comments Share Your Views

11 COMMENTS

  1. Really well written and articulated as usual but Shashi Tharoor, you really have presented your opinion very very clearly and with simple facrs

  2. Sheshadri Chari is a staunch BJP supporter. Hence whatever BJP does is sacrosanct for him. People are not fools to vote a candidate who has maligned the Hindus through her bomb planting activities. Malegaon blast has killed 7 people. That incident has not taken place on its own. As per the former prosecutor in the case Pragya has strong evidences against her. Further,the adverse comments against Hemant Karkare has not gone well with patriotic Hindus who really love their country and their religion. The Hindutva card projected by Pragya cannot win the hearts of real Hindus of this country. Her criticism of Hemant Karkare, an anti-terror activist, proves that she is a real terrorist who shuns the police of this country.

  3. I wondered how delusional one has to be to think just an announcement of declaring Pragya Singh as candidate wins half battle for BJP in all of India…

    Then I read this at the bottom… The author is the former editor of ‘Organiser’. 🙂

  4. MRr SHESHADR4I CHARI, PRAGYA HAD ARRESTED FOR RSS MAN SUNIL JOSHY’S MURDER CASE IN 2008, AT THE TIME OF BJP GOVT IN MP. WHY SHE BECAME A HINDU LEADER EVEN ACCUSED AS EVIL THINGS

  5. The HATE INDIA Campaign by these TERRORIST Group from across the LOC STARTED AT GREATER INTENSITY EVER SINCE the BJP under Vajpai and L.K. ADVANI Set this monster MAULANA AZAD JEM Chief free after the IA Hijacking in 1999 .

    The Late Hemant Karkare IPS Officer who made the extreme sacrifice ,along so many DEFENDERS of HINDUSTAN INTEGRITY as a UNITED COUNTRY , even those CRP jawan 49 who lost they lives by Blast in PULWAMA, those Brave IAF Officer who were shot and killed in the Helicopter friendly fire. ARE NOT GOING TO RETURN.
    THIS VERY GOVT BJP RSS VHP under fekoo is either defendig the Mulana by the TONE of they attack or are PART of the Campaign against this COUNTRY CONSTITUTION, .

    It seem the bjp is on the VOTE GRABBING CAMPAIGN JUST TO HOLD ON THE THRONE OF POWER BY HOOK OR BY CROOK.
    LET HONOUR late Shri Hemant Karkare and PUTTING HIS PHOTO IN EVERY OFFICE FOR PROTECTING OUR COUNTRY AND THE CITY OF MUMBAI in NOV .
    LET VOTE IN HIS NAME AND HONOUR ALONG WITH THE OTHER MARTYRS 49 CRP and thousands of JAWAN and OFFICERS WHO GAVE THE LIFE TO PROTECT THIS COUNTRY INTEGRITY.
    JAI HIND HINDUSTAN

  6. RSS is a shameless organization of naked bigotry and the author was the editor of its magazine. I don’t know whether BJP-RSS will win election 2019 with hard core Hindutva. They are trying to do it and divide the country. If they win, I will know that India has become morally corrupt (just as Trump’s America) and if they do not, I will know that majority of our population still has some good sense and courage to defeat a violent and fascist ideology that is attempting to represent them.

    • Master appeaser parties like Congress, BSP, SP, TDP and people like Mamta are trying to divide the nation through their way of minority appeasement and BJP is trying to unite already divided majority. Why you are not a shameless partisan commenter ????

  7. Pragya Thakur was first arrested by the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government for the murder of RSS operative Sunil Joshi, with whom she had carried out the Malegaon, Ajmer Sharif and Samjhauta blasts. She killed him because ….we don’t know for sure,…but because he had attempted to molest her (shows what the bramhacharyas of RSS are upto usually). Wearing saffron robes does not make any murderer or terrorist innocent. IT only defames the religion the person claims to represent. If Pragya Thakur is being projected as a model Hindu then all the deities of Hinduism will not be able to save the religion.,

  8. PMNM’s all questions will be soloved .PMNM & his dearmost friend AS will sit in AC room , no need to wander across the nation. Just ask Sadhawi to curse all the voters & bless the both . Ask her to curse the Pak China & Islam . Modi will not required to wander across the world

  9. Where is BJP, BJP’s IT Cell and its BLIND FOLLOWERS when this bi**h makes harsh comment on 26/11 martyrs. Why are they not badging her as “DESHDROHI”
    These ILLITERATE BASTARDS will eat the country from its root.
    If MODI is elected again, this country will reach its last legs.What have they done in the last 5 years COMMUNAL RIOTS (I practice HINDUISM) and CREATING HATRED among the peoples of INDIA.
    INDIA only became a country when all the communities came together to fight the OUTSIDERS(British).Before that it was just bunch of princely states fighting among each other.
    GOD BLESS INDIA

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