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Sadhvi Pragya Thakur: From Malegaon blast accused to a likely challenger for Digvijaya Singh

 Sadhvi Pragya’s name came into limelight after she was accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case. 

Sadhvi Pragya Thakur: From Malegaon blast accused to a likely challenger for Digvijaya Singh

Ending all speculations, Sadhvi Pragya Thakur on Wednesday formally joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Sadhvi Pragya’s name came into limelight after she was accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case. 

It is expected that BJP would field Sadhvi Pragya against senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh from Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh. The BJP is expected to make a formal announcement in this regard on Wednesday though Sadgvi Pragya has said that she will contest from Bhopal and defeat Singh.

The Malegaon blast case was raised repeatedly by Singh at the national level with an aim to prove that RSS was involved in promoting 'saffron terror' in the country.

After coming out of jail, Sadhvi Pragya had revealed that she was brutally tortured in illegal police custody for 23 days continuously during interrogation. She said that during interrogation the officers kept her forcing to confess to the false charges brought against her.

Sadhvi Pragya has always maintained that her arrest was a conspiracy hatched by the Congress-led UPA government to endorse the bogey of Hindu terror.

Sadhvi Pragya is a postgraduate in History and had worked with RSS-affiliate Akhil Bhartiya Vidhyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and Durga Vahini, the women's wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP).

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) had given a clean chit to Sadhvi Pragya in the 2008 Malegaon blast case but a special NIA court refused to discharge her from the case in December 2018. The court, however, dropped provisions of Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) against her but Sadhvi Pragya is being tried under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). She was granted bail by the Bombay High Court in 2018.

The Bhopal Lok Sabha from where she is likely to contest has become a prestige battle for the Congress, which has failed to win from the Madhya Pradesh capital since 1989.

In 2014, the seat was won by Alok Sanjar of BJP with a margin of 3.7 lakh votes. Experts maintain that by fielding Digvijaya Singh from Bhopal, the Congress has forced the BJP to come up with a leader who can defeat the former Madhya Pradesh chief minister.

In the 2018 Madhya Pradesh Assembly election, Congress had won three out of eight assembly segments of Bhopal Lok Sabha constituency, while the BJP had emerged victorious on five seats. 

The Bhopal constituency covers assembly segments of Berasia, Bhopal Uttar, Narela, Bhopal south-west, Bhopal central, Govindpura, Huzur and Sehore.