Pragya Thakur allegedly violates 72-hour campaign ban, gets EC notice
Bhopal district election officer has sent a notice to Pragya Thakur, BJP's candidate for Bhopal Lok Sabha constituency after she allegedly violated the Election Commission's order. The polling watchdog had barred Pragya from campaigning for 72 hours, starting Thursday 6 AM, but she didn't pay heed. This is the third notice EC sent to Pragya since her candidature was announced last month. Here's more.
Backstory: Pragya's comments on Babri Masjid demolition invited the ban
According to reports, Pragya has been asked to explain why she defied EC's ban. Pragya, who is an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, was banned from holding public meetings, rallies, processions, road shows, and interviews courtesy her comments on Babri Masjid demolition. Last month Pragya said she was proud of the 1992 incident and demolition of 16th-century mosque instilled confidence among countrymen.
Pragya said she climbed atop the mosque and razed it
"We will build Ram temple and build a grand one. We had gone to demolish the structure, I am proud that I climbed the structure and demolished it. God gave me power and we removed a blot on the nation," Pragya had said.
Pragya claimed her comments weren't ill-intended, EC didn't buy it
Replying to EC's showcause notice, Pragya had said she didn't make the comments to invoke religious sentiments and it was merely a reflection of her inner voice. EC found her guilty nevertheless, and concluded she violated Model Code of Conduct (MCC) which bars candidates from passing communally divisive statements. Besides, an FIR was also lodged against Pragya under IPC Section 188.
Earlier, Pragya had said Karkare died due to her "curse"
To recall, Pragya was sent the first notice when she made an ill comment about former Mumbai ATS chief Hemant Karkare. Karkare led team had arrested Pragya and she claimed she was tortured in custody. Out on bail on health grounds, Pragya said Karkare died because of her "curse". As the statement about the martyr drew criticism, Pragya apologized.
Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi is confident Pragya will lose elections
Pragya will take on Congress' old warhorse Digvijaya Singh from Bhopal, a seat which has voted for saffron since 1989. When asked that Congress has largely remained silent in Bhopal, party president Rahul Gandhi told IE, "No, we're not silent. And we'll defeat their candidate. I have no issues campaigning in Bhopal." Bhopal will cast votes on May 12.