Whether she wins or loses it will be difficult for Pragya Thakur to live in Bhopal. Several BJP leaders in private, admit that by her highly provocative utterances she has caused embarrassment to the BJP. First, she said that it was her curse which caused the death of Hemant Karkare.
Her comment against Karkare caused a nationwide furore. Even Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that she should not have made the derogatory comment against Karkare. Fadnavis also praised Karkare by saying that “he was a brave and honest officer.”
After some time she claimed that she was an active participant in the demolition of the Babri Mosque. At that time several complaints were made against her. The Chief Electoral Officer of Madhya Pradesh refereed all the complaints to the Election Commission which found her guilty of the violation of the model code of conduct and debarred her from electioneering for 72 hours.
This was an unprecedented punishment ever inflicted to anybody in the history of Madhya Pradesh. In both the instances, she tendered unconditional apology which the commission did not accept. Both the BJP and RSS repeatedly advised her to restrain herself and desist from making provocative remarks. But she defied both BJP and RSS and praised Nathu Ram Godse. She described him as a patriot.
Though in the past several RSS, erstwhile Jan Sangh and BJP leaders made comments about Godse’s role but none had called him a patriot. Hers was a highly provocative remark which was incidentally made just before the last phase of voting in Madhya Pradesh. In the last phase, eight Lok Sabha constituencies went to polls on May 19. The BJP sources felt that here utterance must have affected polling in these constituencies.
While the BJP was still trying to repair the damage caused by Pragya’s comments, much more derogatory and objectionable remarks were made by Anil Saumitra, an important RSS and BJP functionary. Soumitra wrote on his Facebook account that Mahatma Gandhi cannot be called India’s father of the Nation. He is Father of the Nation but of Pakistan.
The moment his remarks went public the BJP suspended him. Saumitra is a spokesman of the party. He has been allotted a government bungalow in Bhopal. Earlier also Saumitra has been punished by the BJP. At that time he was editing the party periodical “Charevaiti”. Sumitra Mahajan was the chief of the publication. Soumitra was found guilty of financial irregularity and was removed from the editorship of the periodical, despite that he continued to be an activist in the party.
The Congress and several other social and cultural organisations have made it clear that they will not allow Pragya to live in Bhopal even if she wins the Bhopal seat. It may be recalled here that the BJP leadership did not allow Uma Bharati to continue as Chief Minister because of her unpredictable behaviour.
She even insulted L K Advani in the presence of media following which she was removed from the party. Later she formed a separate party and contested election. She was finality expelled from Madhya Pradesh and entered Lok Sabha from Jhansi (Uttar Pradesh). It appears that the same fate awaits Pragya Thakur. Among others, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has also asked the BJP leadership to punish Pragya. Meanwhile, in order to win over her critics, she has started “Maun Vrat” from May 21.
L S Herdenia is a freelance journalist. Views are personal.