“I have formally joined BJP, I will contest elections and will win also,” Thakur said after joining the party.
Thakur, who is out on bail, had joined the BJP only hours before her name was announced as its candidate, underscoring the saffron party’s attempt to bring the Hindutva plank at the centre stage of polls in the high profile constituency.
While Thakur was an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blasts before being released last year after the NIA said it had no prosecutable evidence against her, she is seen as a “deep saffron” figure.
Though she can be considered as a good pick against Singh, who had called the 2008 Batla House encounter of Indian Mujahideen terrorists fake, Thakur can be a political risk given her inexperience.
Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, BJP on her candidature from Bhopal, MP in #LokSabhaElections2019 : Hum tayar hain, ab u… https://t.co/ltTeqzpJ49
— ANI (@ANI) 1555499327000
Singh has been a spearhead of the campaign against “saffron terror”, having gone to Azamgarh, where several IM terrorists hailed from, to meet their families and call for a probe into the Batla House encounter in which Delhi Police officer Mohan Sharma was killed.
Last month, Thakur had showed her willingness to contest against Singh, after her name had started doing rounds as a potential nominee. The surprise candidature of Singh is said to have prompted the BJP to redraw its strategy for Bhopal.
“Digvijaya is an anti-Hindu leader. He had called Hindus terrorists,” Thakur said earlier.
Bhopal is a BJP stronghold as the party has been winning the seat continuously since 1989. The last Congress MP elected from Bhopal was K N Pradhan in 1984.
Thakur was given a clean chit by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the 2008 bomb blasts case.
However, a special NIA court in December 2018 refused to discharge her from the case.
Though the court dropped provisions of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) against her, Thakur is being tried under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). She was granted bail by the Bombay High Court last year.
Six people were killed and over 100 injured when an explosive device strapped on a motorcycle went off near a mosque in Malegaon in north Maharashtra, on September 29, 2008.
Lok Sabha elections: BJP’s Sadhvi Pragya to take on Cong’s Digvijaya Singh in Bhopal – Times of India