Pragya Thakur’s BJP Ticket Isn’t ‘Interesting’ – It’s Disturbing

To call such an unethical and worrisome development ‘interesting’ must be the understatement of the century.

3 min read

Video Editor: Varun Sharma

The BJP has named Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, a 2008 Malegaon blast accused, as its Bhopal candidate for the Lok Sabha elections. The Malegaon blasts killed six people –and Pragya was arrested for her involvement in October 2008. Pragya will now be facing off against Congress heavyweight Digvijaya Singh.

Pragya is currently out on bail, facing trial under stringent sections of The Unlawful Activities Prevention Act in a Mumbai court.

In an interview on Friday, 20 April, Prime Minister Narendra Modi openly defended the BJP’s decision to field Pragya. He said her candidature is a symbolic answer “to all those who demeaned a great civilisation.” This means that the PM has chosen to back Pragya instead of a brave police officer like Hemant Karkare who busted the Hindutva terror module.

A mainstream political party has given an election ticket to an accused terrorist out on bail. Isn't this a blot on our democracy? Shouldn't this anger every Indian? Many journalists don't seem to think so. Media houses described it as "Interesting" and "Mother Of All Battles".

Accused of plotting a deadly blast and then getting a party ticket is anything but “interesting.” Sending a terror accused who has dubbed the elections ‘Dharm Yudh’ to Parliament is not ‘good entertainment’. It is unethical and disturbing.

One news report said fielding Pragya Singh is the BJP’s attempt to correct the “gender imbalance”. An alleged terrorist in Parliament is not the way to ensure gender equality. Instead, why don't we try focusing on schemes laws, and funds for women's empowerment? Remember the Women’s Reservation Bill that BJP promised back in 2014?

Pragya Thakur’s BJP Ticket Isn’t ‘Interesting’ – It’s Disturbing

It's been 5 years, and what has come of it? Nothing.

India Today called this a 'saffron war'. Times Now was cruder and called it a ticket to ‘restore Hindu pride’. This is much more than just a saffron war. The battle is against terror, and radical Hindutva. And how exactly is glorifying a terror accused restoring pride? Zee News called the move ‘Brahmasatra’, as if Pragya is the BJP’s ultimate weapon.

Pragya Thakur’s BJP Ticket Isn’t ‘Interesting’ – It’s Disturbing

Almost no journalists asked the common-sense questions: How can pragya contest elections If she is out on bail on health grounds?

Even if Pragya contesting elections is not technically illegal, what message is the BJP trying to send by fielding someone accused of categorically planning to attack Muslim-majority areas?

BJP President Amit Shah did not mince words when he said the decision to field Pragya was to punish Digvijaya Singh for coining the term ‘Hindu terror’.

Pragya has also made the ridiculous claim that the 26/11 hero ATS Chief Hemant Karkare, died because she cursed him. Is this BJP’s nationalism? Where terror accused are fielded to punish political opponents and martyrs are cursed to death?

The fact is, by giving Pragya a ticket, the BJP is being very clear – it is doing everything in its power to push for religious majoritarianism. The priority, clearly, is Hindutva. Development and everything else has gone out the window.

And that's why it's unforgivable that prime-time debates are about "political strategy" or placing bets on who will triumph in Pragya vs Digvijaya.

The questions must be about how our democracy has reached a point where a party can induct Hindutva terror mascots into mainstream electoral politics. The media cannot sit back and normalise this.

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