BJP has always shunned minority appeasement and sought to advance the idea of equality among all communities: V-P Prabhat Jha.
BJP has fielded Pragya Singh Thakur, aka Sadhvi Pragya, against Congress veteran Digvijay Singh in Bhopal to prove as misnomer the term “Hindu terror” coined by the latter along with some of his party colleagues. It is a “dharmayudh” (crusade) for us, says BJP national vice-president Prabhat Jha in an interview with Rabindra Nath Choudhury.
Q. BJP has attracted criticism from many quarters across the country for fielding Pragya Singh Thakur, aka Sadhvi Pragya, an accused in 2008 Malegaon blast, in Bhopal. BJP’s critics see in the move a design by the party to polarise voters for electoral gains. Your comments?
A. The charges of polarisation levelled against my party are absolutely rubbish, absurd and nonsense.
Pragya is a symbol of Congress’ tyranny. She is a victim of evil designs of Congress that sought to defame Hindu religion by coining the terms “saffron terror” and “Hindu terror” by falsely implicating her in a terror case.
Pragya is a woman and a saint. She was subjected to inhuman torture in police custody to extract a confession from her to build a false case against Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in order to project it as a terror organisation and portray Hindus as extremists at the international level.
The sole motive behind the nefarious designs by the Congress was to appease Muslims and restore its fast eroding base among the minority community. Bhopal election is no ordinary poll. It is nationalism vs pseudo secularism, and a "dharmayudha" (crusade) for us.
Besides, who is resorting to polarisation? It is the Congress candidate Digvijay Singh who is making temple runs to shed the baggage of his pro-Muslim image. Why it is needed for him to demonstrate in public that he is a devout Hindu? Is it not a practice of opportunistic Hinduism?
People build an opinion about a leader by his deeds, not by the perception that he projects.
Q. Congress describes Bhopal polls as secularism vs communalism. Your comments?
A. Is framing an innocent woman falsely in a terror case and then torturing her in police custody to destroy her mentally and physically to forcibly pull out a statement from her to label RSS and Hindus as entities, secularism?
Is mindlessly linking 26/11 Mumbai terror attack to RSS, by Digvijay Singh ji, secularism? Is shedding tears by the Congress for slain terrorists in Batla encounter called secularism?
Secularism, being propagated by Congress, is nothing but a euphemism of sorts for appeasement of minorities for vote bank politics. Minority appeasement is no secularism. I would say Congress has done greatest disservice to secularism by linking it to its vote bank politics.
The minority community in the country has begun to see the ploy of Congress. That is why Congress’s base among them is depleting very fast.
BJP always shunned minority appeasement and has sought to advance the idea of equality among all communities and justice for all.
Q. Opposition has accused the BJP of maintaining double standard on the issue of terrorism. Because, on the one hand, BJP is making terrorism an issue, on the other, the party has fielded Pragya, a terror accused in election. Your comments?
A. Pragya's case is victimisation of an innocent woman, a sadhvi, to further political interest by a party. Her case is a conspiracy to defame Hindu religion at the international level by attaching terror stigma to it.
Not a single charge built against her could be established despite the fact that Congress-led UPA government was at the Centre then. The Narendra Modi government at the Centre has demonstrated its commitment to deal with terrorism with a strong hand in the last five years. Successes against terrorism achieved in the last five years have clearly established it.
Q. Mr Singh has said he believed in Hinduism and Hindutva is not in his dictionary.
A. It is the same mindset which coined "Hindu terror" and "saffron terror". Congress is trying to differentiate between Hindutva and Hinduism for political purpose. Hindutva and Hinduism are one and the same. It is a way of life, not a religion.
Q.Mr Singh is seen avoiding speaking on his rival candidate, Pragya and stated that he will seek votes on the basis of his vision to develop Bhopal.
A. He as well as his party is scared of Pragya. Congress knows it full well that Pragya’s presence in Bhopal will have a spillover effect across other constituencies in Madhya Pradesh and the country overall, pushing the Congress to the back foot. The Congress and the Opposition parties have been raising a hue and cry over it as they are well aware of it.
Besides, Mr Singh’s decade-long tenure as chief minister of Madhya Pradesh has been identified with “potholed roads, electricity playing hide and sick and drinking water crisis”.
Public perception across MP is that Digvijay Singh and development can never be together. Hence, his poll plank of development will not cut ice with people.
Senior Sadhvi, Uma Bharti, had dislodged the Digvijay Singh government in 2003 Assembly elections. Junior Sadhvi, Pragya, will banish Mr Singh into political wilderness, 16 years later, by trouncing him in the May 12 elections in Bhopal Lok Sabha constituency.
Q.How do you see BJP's prospects in the four-phase Lok Sabha elections in Madhya Pradesh?
A. A strong undercurrent in favour of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is clearly discernible across the length and breadth of Madhya Pradesh. Besides, BJP cadres have been recharged following narrow defeat of the party in the 2018 Assembly elections in MP and are out to avenge the party's loss by ensuring a clean sweep of party in the elections in the state.
I clearly see a “29 out of 29” result for BJP in MP. BJP has secured 27 out of total 29 seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Pragya’s victory, moreover, will set at rest all talks of Hindu terror for once and all. This is the significance of Bhopal election.