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'Pragya Thakur's Comments Communal & Obnoxious': BJP's Muslim Face in Bhopal Won't Campaign for Her

Fatima Rasool Siddique said the 49-year-old right-wing activist's remarks have also tarnished the image of BJP leader and former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

PTI

Updated:April 25, 2019, 11:55 PM IST
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'Pragya Thakur's Comments Communal & Obnoxious': BJP's Muslim Face in Bhopal Won't Campaign for Her
BJP candidate Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur gestures while addressing a party workers' meeting in Bhopal. (PTI Photo)

Bhopal: Fatima Rasool Siddique, the BJP's lone Muslim candidate in the last year's Madhya Pradesh Assembly polls, om Thursday announced she will not campaign for Pragya Singh Thakur, the saffron party's Lok Sabha nominee from Bhopal.

Siddique, who unsuccessfully contested Assembly polls from the Bhopal North seat in November last year, said some of the statements given by Thakur, an accused in the Malegaon bomb blast case of 2008, after her candidature was announced were "communal and obnoxious".

"I won't campaign for her as she has made statements like waging a `dharm yudh' (crusade). Her controversial statement against former Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) chief Hemant Karkare, a martyr who laid down his life fighting terrorists in the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai, has also hurt me badly," the 35-year-old said.

"Pragya's statements about dharm yudh and against Karkare have not gone down well in my community also," she said.

Siddique said the 49-year-old right-wing activist's remarks have also tarnished the image of BJP leader and former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

"Her statements have damaged the image of Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who has good connect with Muslims," said the daughter of Rasool Ahmed Siddique, a Congress leader and former Cabinet minister in the state.

Chouhan is a strong votary of `Ganga Jamuna Tehzeeb' (secular culture), she said.

"My community members have immense respect for him," the BJP leader said.

Asked whether she was going to join her father's party Congress, Siddique replied in the negative. Siddique, a dentistry student, is a new entrant in politics.

She joined the BJP on November 8 last year and hours later she was nominated the party's candidate from the Bhopal North assembly constituency.

Though a fairly good number of Muslim women campaigned for Siddique, she lost by 34,857 votes to Congress candidate Arif Aqueel.

Aqueel is now the lone minister from the minority community in the state's Congress government headed by Kamal Nath.

Thakur is pitted against Congress veteran Digvijaya Singh in the Bhopal Lok Sabha constituency, which the BJP has been winning since 1989.

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