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  India   Politics  24 Apr 2019  BJP plays safe, fields MP as Pragya’s dummy

BJP plays safe, fields MP as Pragya’s dummy

Published : Apr 24, 2019, 1:30 am IST
Updated : Apr 24, 2019, 1:30 am IST

Thakur is locked in a battle with Congress veteran Digvijay Singh in Bhopal.

Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur
 Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur

Bhopal: The Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday fielded Alok Sanjar, sitting MP from Bhopal, in Bhopal Lok Sabha constituency as a “dummy candidate”, alongside its official candidate, Pragya Singh Thakur, sparking all kinds of speculation.

There was speculation in political circles here that the party’s decision to field Mr Sanjar as a “dummy candidate” was taken out of fear that Ms Thakur’s nomination might be rejected in view of her recent controversial remarks on Babri Masjid demolition, or the appeal to the court hearing the 2008 Malegaon blast case to bar Ms Thakur from contesting elections.

The Election Commission had taken cognizance of Ms Thakur’s comment that she had helped in pulling down the Babri Masjid structure and was proud of it. The EC on Monday ordered that an FIR be registered against her.

Last Thursday, Nisar Sayyad, who lost his son in the blast, moved the special judge for National Investigation Agency (NIA) court, urging it to bar Ms Thakur, the prime accused in the case, from contesting the election.

The applicant sought that Ms Thakur, who is out on bail, be asked to attend court proceedings in Mumbai and be barred from contesting the election as the trial is in progress. It further mentioned that Ms Thakur got bail on health grounds. If she is “healthy enough to fight elections in the crippling summers heat,” then she has misled the court, the complainant alleged.

A petition seeking cancellation of her bail is pending before the Supreme Court, it said.

Ms Thakur on Tuesday sought dismissal of the application, even as the NIA distanced itself from the issue.

Ms Thakur, through her lawyer, filed a reply before special judge for NIA cases, V.S. Padalkar, dubbing the application as “frivolous” and moved with a “political agenda”.

In her response, Ms Thakur said, “The applicant has deliberately chosen this court to ventilate misconceived and frivolous application for want of publicity and extraneous reasons with political agenda.”

It has not only wasted the precious time of this court, but also attempted to consequentially drag, demean and lower the dignity and reputation of the court, Ms Thakur said in her response.

She prayed the court to dismiss the application with an exemplary cost and also urged that the applicant be dealt with sternly for filing such a “frivolous” plea.

The NIA in its reply submitted that it has no jurisdiction to say anything in the matter.

“The matter of contesting election is not related to this court and it is to be decided by the Election Commission only,” it said.

The court later the matter to Wednesday for further hearing.

Six people were killed and over 100 injured in a bomb blast at Malegaon, a communally-sensitive textile town in north Maharashtra, on September 29, 2008.

The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad arrested Ms Thakur and others in the case, alleging that they were part of a Hindu extremist group that carried out the blast.

The NIA later gave Ms Thakur a clean chit, but the court did not discharge her.

It dropped charges against her under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act, but she is still facing trial under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and the Indian Penal Code sections.

The BJP, however, dismissed speculation that a “dummy candidate” had been fielded from Bhopal as it feared rejection of Ms Thakur’s nomination.

“It is routine practice by a political party to field a dummy candidate besides the official nominee in a constituency. There is nothing unusual in fielding a dummy candidate in Bhopal by the party,” state BJP president Rakesh Singh told reporters here on Tuesday.

Mr Sanjar, the BJP’s sitting MP in Bhopal who filed his nomination on Tuesday, also rejected talks of the possibility of disqualification of Ms Thakur to fight elections. “There is absolutely no such possibility. I am working hard for her victory. I have done lot of works for Bhopal which will help BJP win the seat,” Mr Sanjar, who is her key campaign manager, told reporters here.

Ms Thakur is locked in a battle with Congress veteran Digvijay Singh in Bhopal.

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Tags: pragya singh thakur, babri masjid, national investigation agency