- Pragya Singh is a controversial figure known for her incendiary speeches
- She is an accused in the Malegaon blasts in which 6 people were killed
- Has made controversial remarks like "cursing" 26/11 hero Hemant Karkare
The BJP's Pragya Singh Thakur is leading in Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh, against the Congress's Digvijaya Singh as votes were counted on Thursday in the Lok Sabha elections. Certain of her victory, Pragya Thakur today said, "I will definitely win. My win is the victory of dharma, destruction of adharma", and thanked the people of Bhopal.
Bhopal voted on May 12 in the sixth phase of 2019 general elections.
Pragya Singh Thakur, 48, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blasts who spent nine years in jail, joined the BJP in April -- nearly three years after being cleared of charges under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act or MCOCA. She faces other charges for the series of bombings that killed six people and injured more than 100 in Maharashtra's Malegaon in 2008.
A controversial and polarizing figure known for her incendiary speeches, Pragya Singh Thakur has declared that taking on the former Congress Chief Minister would not be difficult.
Bhopal has been a BJP bastion for three decades.
BJP chief Amit Shah had said the party fielded the Malagaon blast accused against Digvijaya Singh as he was "creator" of the term "saffron terror" and this time, the people will decide.
Together with the 2007 bombing of the Samjhauta Express, the Malegaon blasts came to be dubbed "saffron terror" during the UPA rule, after investigators arrested several members of right-wing groups. The investigators said the right-wing groups were upset with the terror attacks on several temples - including the Gujarat's Akshardham temple, Jammu's Raghunath Mandir and Varanasi's Sankat Mochan Mandir.
Madhya Pradesh-born Pragya Thakur was an active member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the ideological mentor of the BJP, and the women's wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad.
Pragya Thakur had taken a "maun vrat" or oath of silence till counting day after a huge controversy over her comments glorifying Mahatma Gandhi's assassin Nathuram Godse,
Last week, Pragya Thakur spurred outrage and protests when, to a reporter's question, she said: "Nathuram Godse was a 'deshbhakt' (patriot), is a 'deshbhakt' and will remain a 'deshbhakt'. People calling him a terrorist should instead look within, such people will be given a fitting reply in the election."
She refused to apologise though the BJP prodded her to, denouncing and disowning her comments.
Pragya Thakur eventually apologized but could not escape Prime Minister Narendra Modi's public censure. "I will, from my heart, never forgive them for insulting Bapu," PM Modi told a news channel.
But the BJP also made it clear that it planned no action against Pragya Thakur, an accused in the 2008 Malgaon attack. BJP president Amit Shah defended fielding Pragya Thakur in the election saying "her candidature is a 'satyagraha' against a fake case of saffron terror."
Pragya Thakur was on "Maun Vrat" even last month, after saying in an interview to television channel TV9 over the weekend that she was among the people who demolished the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992 and she was "proud" of it.
She also shocked many by declaring that she had "cursed" Hemant Karkare, a celebrated officer who died fighting terrorists in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.