The BJP on Thursday said it will contest Lok Sabha election in Bhopal, where it has fielded Malegaon blast case accused Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, as a fight against the Congress’ “conspiracy” to defame Hindu religion by linking it to terrorism.

Its spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao claimed that the conspiracy has been “exposed”, claiming that Thakur has been discharged in some cases. He also mentioned the arrest of Hindutva activist Swami Aseemanand and his recent acquittal to attack the opposition party.

Thakur has been discharged of stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act but is still facing other serious charges in the case. Aseemanand was recently acquitted in the Samjhauta Express blast case.

“We are contesting this election in Bhopal as a fight against the Congress conspiracy to insult Hindu religion by linking it to terrorism. Digvijay Singh was the face of this conspiracy,” Rao told reporters. Singh is the Congress candidate from the seat.

Dubbing Thakur as an innocent person, he said she was tortured and asked opposition parties what problem they have if the BJP has fielded her as its candidate.

He alleged that Congress president Rahul Gandhi had “masterminded” this conspiracy, claiming that it was meant to appease a minority community.

He also claimed that “Islamic terror” is an accepted notion the world over as “a large number of terror organisations perpetrate terror in the name of the religion”.

The press conference was cut short when a man threw shoes towards him and BJP general secretary Bhupendra Yadav, who was sitting beside him.

The accused was immediately restrained by a party worker and was bundled out by security. He was later taken into police custody for questioning.