Union minister and senior BJP leader Uma Bharti asked people on Saturday not compare her with Pragya Singh Thakur, chosen by the party to take on Congress's Digvijaya Singh in Bhopal Lok Sabha constituency. "She (Pragya Thakur) is a great saint, don't compare me with her, I am just an ordinary and foolish creature," Uma Bharti was quoted as by news agency ANI.
Uma Bharti's remarks were in response to reporters, who had asked her if Pragya Singh Thakur, the Malegaon blast accused, will take her place in Madhya Pradesh politics. Pragya Singh Thakur had boasted that Hemant Karkare, the 26/11 hero, died because she had "cursed" him.
Uma Bharti is credited with reviving the BJP in the state when she led the party to a landslide victory in 2003, winning 173 out of 230 seats, in the state assembly. She succeeded Digvijaya Singh as Chief Minister after the BJP dislodged the Congress, which had been in power in Madhya Pradesh since 1993.
Uma Bharti had won the Lok Sabha elections in 1989 from Khajuraho constituency and retained the seat in 1991, 1996 and 1998. In 1999, she switched seats and won from Bhopal.
The 59-year-old parliamentarian from Jhansi announced in March that she is not keen to contest the elections and will sit out. Days after her announcement, the BJP appointed her as the vice-president of the party.
Speaking to reporters after her announcement, Uma Bharti said that she has "already done her part" in ousting Digvijaya Singh from power earlier and now the "people of Bhopal would defeat him."
The BJP veteran is campaigning extensively for her party in the state and addressed rallies in Damoh, Mandla, Balaghat and Khajuraho over the weekend.
Voting in Bhopal will take place on May 12. The counting of votes will be held on May 23.
(With inputs from ANI & PTI)