Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, Bharatiya Janata Party’s candidate from Bhopal parliamentary seat in the Lok Sabha elections 2019, continues issuing controversial statements, leaving the leadership of the party red-faced.
On May 16, when asked for her opinion on Kamal Haasan’s controversial remark that India’s first terrorist was a Hindu (referring to Nathuram Godse, who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi), Sadhvi responded, saying “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”.
Her statement prompted the Congress leaders to demand an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “Modi-Amit Shah ji’s favourite BJP leader, Pragya Thakur once again insulted the whole nation by calling Gandhi’s killer, Nathuram Godse a true patriot,” said Congress’s chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala.
In a damage-control exercise, BJP spokesperson had to say, “We completely disagree with her statement and strongly condemn it. The BJP will ask her why she made such a statement. It would be proper for her to tender a public apology for this objectionable statement”. And an apology followed.
Pragya Thakur, an accused in Malegoan blast case, has been fielded against Congress veteran Digvijay Singh, who had propagated “Hindu terror” bogey when the UPA was in power. Sadhiv was in jailed for nine years, mostly without being charge-sheeted. Later, she was given clean chit in terror charges, though continues to be under trial for unlawful activities. Her candidacy was a symbolic move to highlight the false and sinister narration of “Saffron terror”, said the BJP.
However, Sadhvi’s entry into active politics kick-started with a controversial statement as she claimed her curse killed Hemanth Karkare, the chief of Mumbai’s Anti Terrorism Squad who was martyred in 26/11 terror attacks. Later, she was made to apologise for making such statement.
Meanwhile, hashtag PragyaSinghThakur started trending on top. But the following tweet by senior journalist, known for her balanced view, shows the extent of the damage done by Sadhvi’s remark.