National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah on Thursday slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for giving a ticket to Malegaon blast accused Sadhvi Pragya and questioned the newly-inducted leader’s health condition – the ground on which she was granted bail.
Without naming Pragya, Abdullah said, “BJP have given ticket to a candidate who is not only an accused in a terror case but is also out on bail on health grounds. If her health condition doesn’t permit her to be in jail, how does it permit her to contest polls?”
The former Chief Minister of Jammu-Kashmir then added that he hopes the court will reject her bail because “if her health is fine for campaigning then it is also fine for jail”.
Abdullah also slammed the BJP for playing the religion card.
“First they tried to win votes on Pulwama and Balakot. When they realised that it was not working, they started talking about development. People saw through it. Then BJP played the religion card,” he said.
Abdullah was speaking to reporters outside the polling station in Munshi Bagh area in Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency, where he arrived with his father, NC chairperson Farooq Abdullah, to vote in the Lok Sabha elections.
The senior Abdullah is contesting from the seat.
Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur was on Wednesday inducted into the BJP, which then fielded her against Congress leader Digvijaya Singh from Bhopal.
She is one of the accused in the 29 September 2008 Malegaon bomb blast in which 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.
She was given a clean chit by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the case. However, a special NIA court in 2018 charged her along with co-accused Lt Col Prasad Shrikant Purohit and four others for terror conspiracy, murder and other related offences in the case.
All of them are facing trial in the case under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
A post-graduate in history, Thakur had worked with RSS-affiliate Akhil Bharti Vidhyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and ‘Durga Vahini’ or women’s wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP). She is known for delivering fiery speeches.
Thakur’s name was included in the list of four candidates released by the Bharatiya Janata Party for the Lok Sabha polls in Madhya Pradesh just hours after she joined the party.
The BJP has been holding Bhopal seat since 1989. The Congress had last won the seat in 1984.
On her candidature from Bhopal, Sadhvi Pragya said she was ready and that she is already involved in the election activities.
Madhya Pradesh will go to polls in four stages during phase 4, 5, 6 and 7 scheduled on April 29, May 6, May 12 and May 19, respectively.