Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Thursday claimed that Malegaon blast accused and BJP candidate from Bhopal Lok Sabha seat Pragya Singh Thakur stabbed a man in 2001.
Thakur’s conduct did not become of a ‘Sadhvi’ (ascetic or holy woman), the Congress leader said, speaking at a press conference in Jabalpur.
“Pragya Thakur has a connection with our Chhattisgarh. Her brother-in-law worked at a warehouse in Bilaigarh (in Balodabazar district),” Baghel said when asked whether the BJP was playing the ‘Hindutva card’ by fielding her.
“She used to carry a knife and stabbed a young man named Shailendra Devagan in the chest with a knife in Bilaigarh in 2001. Pragya also used to indulge in fights, and from the beginning her conduct was like that of a habitual criminal and not like that of a Sadhvi,” the chief minister said.
Thakur is currently out on bail.
Rubbishing Baghel’s claims, a BJP spokesperson said the Chhattisgarh CM should “talk sense”.
“Baghel ji should talk sense and refrain from making any statement sans proof. He should apologise for his outlandish remarks against Sadhvi ji or be ready to face a defamation suit from us,” Madhya Pradesh BJP spokesperson Hitesh Bajpai said.
Six people were killed and over 100 injured in a bomb blast at Malegaon, a communally sensitive textile town in north Maharashtra’s Nashik district, on September 29, 2008.
The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad arrested Thakur and others in the case, alleging they were part of a Hindu extremist group which carried out the blast.
The National Investigation Agency later gave Thakur a clean chit, but the trial court in Mumbai did not discharge her. She is facing trial under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and Indian Penal Code sections.