Hours after she joined the BJP, Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, who was named as an accused in the Malegaon blasts, was chosen as the party’s candidate against Congress leader Digvijaya Singh in Bhopal.
“I have formally joined BJP, I will contest elections and will win also,” she stated in Bhopal, reported news agency ANI. Thakur is the third of five children—the family has four sisters and a brother–and joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) in the early nineties.
Thakur transferred to Madhya Pradesh as her father was transferred from Jalaun district in Uttar Pradesh to Lahar in Bhind district of the central state in the seventies as an agriculture department employee. Her father again substituted to Surat around 2000 when Pragya was setting out for a post-graduation in history.
She grew to the post of the state organizing secretary of ABVP in 1996 and lived in Ujjain for a year before quitting the organization in 1997. Pragya was associated with many organizations such as Vande Mataram Jan Kalyan Samiti and Rashtrawadi Sena.
In 2005, she led a large religious procession called ‘Chunari Yatra’ in Dewas and stayed in Jabalpur for a while where she owns a house in the Gorakhpur locality.
Pragya declared she had become a sadhvi in 2007 at the Allahabad Kumbh and was ordained by the popular seer Swami Avadheshanand Giri, the head of the powerful Juna Akhada.
Pragya was arrested in a case involving a bomb blast in Maharashtra’s Malegaon town on September 29, 2008, that killed six people and injured 101 others.
She was arrested because the LML Freedom motorcycle used in the blast was registered in her name.