Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel claimed on Sunday that Pragya Singh Thakur used to ride motorcycle wearing jeans and T-shirt and cannot be called a ''sadhvi'' because she now dons saffron robes.
The Congress leader also alleged that the BJP's Bhopal Lok Sabha seat candidate, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case and currently out on bail, was a "habitual criminal" who had stabbed a man and attacked many people with "slipper".
The BJP reacted sharply to Mr Baghel's remarks, dubbing them as "shameful and baseless".
Mr Baghel told reporters, "She wore T-shirt and jeans and used to ride a motorcycle when she stayed with her brother-in-law at Bilaigarh (in Balodabazar district) in Chhattisgarh."
"She dealt many people with slipper. She stabbed a man in his chest...the entire Bilaigarh knows. Her behaviour had been like that of a habitual criminal," he said.
"Later on, she switched over to saffron robes. This does not mean that she is a sadhu (ascetic or holy woman)," he claimed.
Mr Baghel, however, parried questions on the status of the stabbing case allegedly involving Pragya Thakur.
When contacted, Madhya Pradesh BJP spokesman Hitesh Bajpai said Mr Baghel's comments against Pragya Thakur were "shameful and baseless".
"This is unbecoming of a chief minister," he said, alleging that Mr Baghel was speaking "total lies".
Mr Baghel had last week also claimed that Pragya Thakur stabbed a man in 2001.
Pragya Thakur is contesting elections against Congress veteran Digvijay Singh in the Bhopal Lok Sabha seat, which will go to polls on May 12.
Six people were killed and over 100 injured in a bomb blast at Malegaon, a communally sensitive textile town in north Maharashtra's Nashik district, on September 29, 2008.
The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad arrested Pragya Thakur and some others in the case, alleging they were part of a Hindu extremist group which carried out the blast.
The National Investigation Agency later gave Pragya Thakur a clean chit, but the trial court in Mumbai did not discharge her.
She is facing trial under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and Indian Penal Code.
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