She was initiated into Sanyas and given saffron clothes, but soon she got labelled as a face of “Saffron terror”, coined by leaders in the UPA dispensation. They described “Hindu terror” a growing menace, dangerous than terrorism perpetrated by radical Islamists. Amidst such narratives, Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur suffered unspeakable atrocities in the hands of police after the explosion in Malegoan in Maharashtra, which killed six people in 2008. She spent nine years behind bars, mostly without being charge-sheeted. Finally she came out on bail in 2017 on health grounds.
When Pragya Thakur was inducted into the BJP and then nominated as party’s official candidate for the prestigious Bhopal Lok Sabha seat in the 2019 general elections, it seemed to be a moment of poetic justice. For, she was pitted against Congress veteran Digvijay Singh, who was in the forefront of propagating the “Saffron terror” bogey.
The euphoria, however, was to be short lived. Sadhvi, in her moments of glory, lost no time in letting loose her tongue. She claimed the death of a decorated martyr as a result of her curse. Then she “revealed” she was part of Babri Masjid demolition and declared she was “proud” to have done her bit.
Sadhvi continued with her ill-timed outrageous sound bites even after being cautioned by the party leadership and pulled up by the Election Commission. A couple of days ago she asserted that Mahatma Gandhi’s killer Nathuram Godse was a patriot and those who called him an anti-national should look within themselves.
This statement, however, proved to be the final nail in the coffin, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi, no less, has said that he could never forgive Sadhvi, despite her apology.
In an interview to Republic TV while campaigning in Madhya Pradesh’s Khargone, PM Modi said “Jo bayan aaya hai, puri tarah nindaniye hai, aswikariye hai, aur kabhi bhi aise logo ko aise galti nhi karni chahiye, galti se bhi galti nhi karni chahiye, galti se bhi galti nhi karni chahiye, satark rehna chahiye. Theek hai, baad main unhone maafi mangi, lekin main mann se unko maaf nhi kar paunga, jeevan bhar nhi kar paunga.” (The statement is highly condemnable and unacceptable. People should never make such mistakes, even by mistake, people should not make such blunders. One must be rational. Yes, she has apologised later, but I won’t ever be able to forgive her).
BJP president Amit Shah too has condemned her statement as well as those of two Karnataka leaders. Union minister Ananth Kumar Hegde and MP Nalin Kumar Kateel had tweeted in support of Pragya Thakur’s take on Godse. All the three have been issued show cause notice. And Shah said the issue is being looked after by BJP disciplinary committee.
The tough stance against the trio gives hope that such radical elements won’t get preference in the BJP in the future.