Fatima Rasool Siddique, the BJP’s lone Muslim candidate in the last year’s Madhya Pradesh Assembly polls, Thursday announced she will not campaign for Sadhvi 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”.
Sadhvi’s statement has hurt me badly- Fatima
“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 told PTI.”Pragya’s statements about dharm yudh and against Karkare have not gone down well in my community also,” she said.
I respect saffron but does Thakur respect hijab? – Asks Fatima
Last week, Thakur had said that she is “proud” to accept that she was involved in the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992.
Expressing discontentment over the controversial statements delivered by Thakur, Fatima Rasool Siddique said she would campaign for Malegaon blast accused and her party candidate from Bhopal Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur if she apologizes to Muslims for her recent statements.
“I respect saffron but does Thakur respect hijab? If Thakur respects hijab then she must apologise to the Muslim community and then I will surely campaign for her,” Siddique 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 fathers 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.
She was the lone Muslim woman candidate fielded by BJP in Madhya Pradesh. However, she lost to Congress candidate Arif Aqueel. A fairly good number of Muslim women campaigned for Siddique, but 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.
Voting in Bhopal will take place on May 12. The counting of votes will be held on May 23.
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