BHOPAL: Hurt by 2008 Malegaon blast accused and BJP candidate Pragya Singh Thakur’s controversial remarks on ex-Mumbai ATS chief Hemant Karkare, a retired officer of Maharashtra Police has plunged into the Lok Sabha poll battle from Bhopal seat of Madhya Pradesh.
The 60-year-old Riyazuddin Deshmukh, for whom the Ashok Chakra awarded ex-Mumbai ATS chief Hemant Karkare was a guru (mentor) has filed nomination papers as independent candidate from Bhopal Lok Sabha seat on April 23.
“I worked under Hemant Karkare Sir as a sub-inspector in 1988, while he was the SP of Akola. Since then I stayed in touch with him life-long and learnt from him different aspects of policing. The BJP candidate Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur’s remarks, particularly dubbing my mentor and senior as a deshdrohi (traitor) has hurt me to the hilt and compelled me to fight her out in the poll battle from Bhopal,” said Deshmukh.
Declining that he was contesting from Bhopal to give Thakur a symbolic fight, Deshmukh, who retired as ACP-Amrawati in 2016 said “I’m fighting the poll battle to win and not to divide votes. I sincerely believe that people of Bhopal will help me in the fight against disrespect for a senior police officer, who sacrificed life for the nation while taking on terrorists during the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack,” said Deshmukh.
“I’ll be in Bhopal from April 29-30 and hope people of Bhopal will join me in the poll battle,” he maintained.
The main contest in Bhopal seat (a BJP bastion since 1989) is between Congress candidate and ex-Cm Digvijaya Singh and BJP candidate Pragya Singh Thakur.
BJP’s lone Muslim candidate in 2018 assembly polls not to campaign for Thakur
Meanwhile, a young woman BJP leader Fatima Rasool Siddiqui ‘Gudiya,’ who unsuccessfully contested the 2018 assembly polls from Bhopal North seat as BJP candidate has refused to campaign for Thakur in the Lok Sabha polls in Bhopal.
Fatima, whose Congress leader father Rasool Ahmad Siddiqui had represented the Bhopal North assembly seat in 1980 and 1985, said on Thursday that she won’t campaign for Thakur, as she felt that the party has made a wrong choice in fielding a person who is making provocative statements aimed at dividing the people on communal lines.
She maintained that there were far better candidates who could have been fielded by BJP from Bhopal, including city mayor Alok Sharma, sitting MP Alok Sanjar and sitting MLA Vishwas Sarang.
Fatima had joined the BJP after quitting the Congress just before the November 2018 assembly polls.
Pragya Thakur calls Digvijaya Singh a terrorist
Meanwhile, addressing a public gathering in Sehore assembly segment of Bhopal LS seat (which falls in adjoining Sehore district), Thakur termed her opponent and Congress candidate Digvijaya Singh as a terrorist.
“He (Digvijaya) got factories closed during his rule, which ruined your lives. Uma Didi (Uma Bharti) had defeated him 16 years back, after which he couldn’t gather the courage to return to active politics in the state. Now another sanyasin has come to put an end to his political career,” said Thakur.