Journalist Challenges Pragya Thakur’s Election in Madhya Pradesh High Court
Image Courtesy: PTI
A Bhopal-based journalist has filed a petition before Madhya Pradesh High Court challenging election of Malegaon blast accused and member of parliament from Bhopal constituency Pragya Singh Thakur alleging that she played communal card during election campaign to win.
The petition has been filed on Tuesday before Jabalpur High Court.
Senior journalist Rakesh Dixit has filed the election petition in his capacity as a voter from the Bhopal constituency, alleging that Pragya bluntly violated election model code of conduct by declaring the election a “dharma yudh (holy war)”.
Thakur won the Bhopal seat by trouncing Congress stalwart and former Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh with a huge margin – of more than three lakh votes.
In a 400-page election petition, Dixit argued that according to the model code of conduct, candidates can’t seek votes or campaign in the name of religion, caste, sex and race. Besides, Section 123 of the Representation of the People Act also prohibits the candidates from seeking votes on communalism, casteism, offering bribery, etc., which falls under corrupt practices.
“But Pragya not only sought votes on the name of religion by declaring it as ‘dharma yudh’, but also played the Hindutva card by saying that the Congress leaders framed and tortured her because she is a Hindu and the her opponent Congress leader in anti-Hindu,” said advocate of Rakesh Dixit, Arvind Shrivastav, who is representing the case in the Jabalpur High Court.
During the election campaign, Thakur had once said, “This is not my election but is god’s, I am merely a face.’
“This is a clear-cut violation of the model code of conduct. She has iterated similar lines even after winning the election, saying it is a victory in dharma yudh,” added Shrivastav.
Commenting over the issue, Dixit said that he was upset because the BJP candidate valorised Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse and berated Mumbai ATS Chief late Hemant Karkare, who laid down his life fighting terrorists in 2008.
Dixit, who has worked for Hindustan Times, DNA and Dainik Bhaskar, further said, “She violated the MCC multiple times, but the Election Commission of India went soft on her and only imposed 72 hours of prohibition from campaigning. As per the MCC norms, the degree of punishment should be cancellation of her candidature.”
“We have submitted videos and paper cuttings of her election campaigning with a reference of MCC and the Representation of People Act with the petition. We have sought cancellation of her parliamentary membership,” added Dixit.
The Bhopal seat had become a centre of attention when the BJP pitted Thakur against Digvijaya in the poll fray, who was entering electoral arena after a self-imposed exile of 15 years. The Bhopal election turned into a keenly watched election in the country.
Bhopal parliamentary seat, considered a traditional BJP stronghold, was won, among others, by party bigwigs like former Chief Ministers Uma Bharti and Kailash Joshi. The seat has remained with the BJP since 1989 and K N Pradhan was the last Congress leader who had won the seat in 1984.
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