The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has hit a new low with the candidature of Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, key accused of 2008 Malegaon blast case, from Madhya Pradesh's Bhopal constituency. Sadhvi Pragya has been pitted by the BJP to contest the Lok Sabha 2019 elections against Congress's Digvijaya Singh.
The BJP's fielding of the Malegaon blast accused on Wednesday (April 17) has generated a huge political controversy with the Congress and other opposition parties condemning the saffron outfit for naming a terror-accused out on bail only for electoral gains.
Thakur's role in Malegaon bomb blast
In a series of blasts that ripped through Malegaon, a town around 280 km from Mumbai, on September 29, 2008, six people died and nearly 100 were injured. Pragya Thakur, prime accused in the case, was arrested by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) and was in jail for nine years. Thakur has been out on bail by the Bombay High Court since April 2017 on grounds of ill health.
Back in 2015, Sadhvi Pragya was given a clean chit by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) as there was no evidence against her, but the trial court refused to let her off as a motorcycle belonging to her was used in the blast. The court had to drop the charges against her under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) but is trying her under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
The fringe has taken over the core
As per reports, 33 per cent of the MPs of the out-going Lok Sabha had criminal cases against them. Those accused of crimes such as murder, attempt to murder, and rape continue to win elections. But, the question still remains unanswered: Whether a terror-accused be allowed to represent the House?
BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao referred to Pragya Thakur as an 'innocent person', saying she was tortured in jail. "We are contesting this election in Bhopal as a fight against the Congress conspiracy to insult Hindu religion by linking it to terrorism. Digvijaya Singh was the face of this conspiracy," Rao said at a press meet.
The 49-year-old right-wing activist Sadhvi Pragya Thakur will file her nomination on April 23 in Bhopal, which will vote on May 12. The results of the national elections will be declared on May 23.