Bhopal: BJP's candidate from Bhopal, Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur during an interactive session after Election Commission's 72 hour campaign ban on her that ended Sunday, in Bhopal, on May 5, 2019. (Photo: IANS)

Bhopal, May 5(IANS – Anand Singh): BJP’s Lok Sabha candidate from Bhopal Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, who was falsely accused of Malegaon blasts, said she has “personally forgiven those who “tortured her” while terming her electoral battle as a “Dharmyudh” to uphold Hindutva.

Breaking here silence after the Election Commission’s 72 hour campaign ban on her ended on Sunday, the BJP leader, in an interview to IANS, said: “I am fighting against Congress candidate Digvijaya Singh who was one of the main proponents of ‘saffron terror’.”

Thakur was banned by the Election Commission for 72 hours for violating the model code of conduct. The ban began Thursday morning.

“I am waging a ‘dharmyudh’ against those who maligned Sanatan Dharma by coining the word ‘Bhagwa Atankvad’ (saffron terror), put me behind the bars and tortured me under the garb of law.”

She alleged that she faced “atrocities” while she was in the jail even when there was “no evidence against her” and was given a “clean chit” by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the Malegaon bomb blast case.

To a question if she has forgiven those who sent her to jail, Thakur said: “I have personally forgiven those who tortured me and made me suffer atrocities. But as a woman, as a citizen and a saint, no one would forgive them.”

She also said that she was contesting the elections to ensure no woman faces the “atrocities” she suffered in the jail. Arrested in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, in which six people were killed and over 100 injured when a bomb went off near a mosque in the north Maharashtra town on September 29, 2008, she was cleared by the NIA, but the trial court refused to discharge her from the case.

While the court dropped the charges under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act against her, she is being tried under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

She was granted bail by the Bombay High Court in 2017.

Asked what made her enter politics, the BJP leader said the conditions in the country and “vote bank politics” influenced her to contest the Lok Sabha elections.

“Congress always divided the society to gain political benefits. I want to end this vote bank politics. Santan Dharma, which always taught universal brotherhood, was branded as ‘Bhagwa Atankvad’… this also needed to be fought.”

“Those who conspired to malign Sanatan Dharma and Hindutva by coining the term saffron terror have acted as anti-nationals,” she said.

She argued that her struggle is not an individual’s fight. “I am just a source who has been tasked to fight to uphold Hindutva.”

Asked about her vision for the lake city, Bhopal, Thakur said Hindutva and development were “synonymous”.

“I will release a vision document ‘Bhavishya Ka Bhopal’ on May 7. It will talk about a clean Bhopal… security of women, conservation of lakes in the city are some of my priorities,” she said.

Born in Bhind district of Madhya Pradesh, Thakur had a long association with the Sangh parivar. A post-graduate in history, she worked with the RSS’ student wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad and Durga Vahini, the women’s wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad.

The BJP has been holding Bhopal Lok Sabha seat, where about 4.5 lakh of the 18 lakh voters are Muslim, since 1989.

Asked if Muslims are backing her, she said: “Earlier we thought they would not be supporting my candidature. But during the road show in the city, many Muslims not only joined it but also expressed support. And when they (Muslims) will become aware of what Congress is doing with them, then they shall be against them.”

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