NEW DELHI — After the Malegaon blasts accused Pragya Singh Thakur joined the Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday and reported to be likely candidate of the party from Bhopal, criticism emerged on her entry to the fray since she is facing terror charges.
On September 29, 2008, at least six people died and several were injured in two blasts in Maharashtra’s Malegaon. Thakur is one of the accused in the case. She has been charged under Section 18 (conspiracy) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and other sections of the Indian Penal Code. Currently, she is out on bail.
Her candidature was cleared by BJP president Amit Shah, who announced her name at a rally in Odisha soon after she was formally inducted into the party. She will fight against Congress heavyweight Digvijaya Singh in the capital of Madhya Pradesh.
Political analyst Tehseen Poonawalla on Thursday moved the Election Commission to debar Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, BJP’s candidate from Bhopal, from contesting elections, as she is facing terror charges.
In a letter to the poll panel, Poonawalla said: “I would humbly request the Election Commission of India to take further necessary steps to uphold the Model Code of Conduct 2019 and take appropriate action against Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and debar her from contesting elections.”
He informed the poll panel that “a candidate accused with terror links must not be permitted to contest elections.” Poonawalla said the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) had charged her as the “principal conspirator” in the 2008 Malegaon blast in which six people were killed.
“Thakur was in jail for nine years and since 2017, she was out on bail citing health grounds. She is currently facing charges under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act,” said Poonawalla.
The Congress criticised the BJP for the choice. “When known faces like Narendra Singh Toamr, Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Uma Bharti fled away from the contest, the BJP was forced to import a candidate against Digvijaya Singh,” party spokesperson Pankaj Chaturvedi told News18. He suggested that Thakur was not even a BJP member.
A Malegaon blast victim’s father and a political activist on Thursday moved the special NIA court and the Election Commission respectively seeking barring of prime accused Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur from contesting the Lok Sabha polls, a day after the BJP fielded her from Bhopal.
The application before the National Investigation Agency (NIA) court in Mumbai was filed by Nisar Sayeed, who lost his son in the blast in 2008.
(With inputs from IANS)