For Pragya Singh Thakur, the BJP’s controversial candidate from Bhopal, the 2019 Lok Sabha election is a “dharm-yudh” to uphold “Hindutva”. Talking with SHASHI BHUSHAN, Ms Thakur said that she is contesting the polls to restore the glory of the Hindu dharma and the saffron colour against all anti-national forces.
Joining politics and contesting the election is your personal or the party’s decision?
In the current scenario, society is witnessing a politics of votebanks and I am fighting to end this menace. Congress always divided the society for political benefits. I want to end this votebank politics. The Hindu religion, which aspires for the welfare of all, can never be clubbed with terrorism. “Sanatan Dharma”, which professed universal brotherhood, was — under the conspiracy to appease a section of society — branded “Bhagwa Aatankwad” (Saffron Terror) which needed to be fought. Digvijay (Singh) was the principal conspirator who sought to defame Hindu religion by fanning the “saffron terror” conspiracy. The moment he was fielded, angry people came to me with requests to contest elections against him. The party too thought that I should contest.
Is the Congress candidate and former chief minister Digvijay Singh the sole reason for your entry into electoral politics?
I am waging a “dharm-yudh” against those who maligned Sanatan Dharma by coming out with the term “Bhagwa Aatankwad” or Hindu terror, with the sole purpose of diverting attention from other terror acts linked to a particular section of the society. Digvijay Singh with others in the UPA government conspired and coined the word “Bhagwa Aatankwad”.
To justify its vote bank politics, the Congress dragged me and others to establish its narrative of Hindu terror and sent me to jail. In prison, they tortured me under the garb of law and atrocities were meted out to me despite being a woman. Those who conspired to malign Sanatan Dharma — and Hindutva — by coining the term “Saffron Terror” have acted as “anti-nationals”. It’s a “dharm-yudh” to uphold Hindutva. My struggle is not an individual’s fight. I am not contesting the polls to take revenge. This is a “dharm-yudh” to ensure that no woman is ever tortured illegally. One has to lead the “dharm-yudh” and I am just a medium among many to uphold “Hindutva”. This is a battle for national consciousness. It’s a fight to restore the glory of the Hindu dharm and the saffron colour against all anti-nationalist forces who are working hard and overtime to divide the society and the country.
What do you have to say about your tormentors?
I have personally forgiven those who tortured me and made me suffer in jail. I am contesting the elections to ensure that no woman faces the atrocities I suffered illegally in jail.
Opposition parties are raising questions over your candidature for the Lok Sabha polls and are saying a terror accused should not have contested elections. Your comments.
There was no evidence against me and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) had given a “clean chit” to me. Those who divided the country by coining “Bhagwa Aatankwad” — or members of the “tukde-tukde” gang — are also contesting the polls. And see, they are questioning me when they have no case against me. I was framed in a planned way by people in power. People are awake and aware and reject those involved in dividing our country.
Several leaders, whom you mention as tukde tukde gang members, are campaigning in Bhopal against you. Are they hurting your winning prospects?
I do not see them as any challenge to me. People know about their realities and they will be finished on their own. I condemn the comment made by Sitaram Yechury and it’s unfortunate that he does not know anything about Indian culture or values. Our culture exists due to these religious texts. They only talk about dividing the country against the spirit of these religious texts.
While the main poll plank of the BJP is “development”, you are talking about “Hindutva”. Do you think both can go together?
Hindutva and development are “synonymous”. Hindutva talks about “Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah” (“All become happy”) and this objective will be achieved only through development.
It is wrong to say that the two are opposites or different and do not go together. In fact, Hindutva and development guide us in one direction.
What is your vision for Bhopal?
A clean Bhopal, security for women and conservation of lakes are some of my top priorities. Bhopal is known for its lakes and Congress members encroached upon these lakes. But I will make them free of encroachment. Bhopal will be made a green city. We have plans for job creation to end unemployment also. We will work to make Bhopal a happy city where there will be no signs of depression.