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Omar Abdullah says if Sadhvi Pragya is healthy enough to contest Lok Sabha polls, she is fit enough to be in jail

Srinagar: If Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, the BJP candidate from Bhopal and an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, is fit to contest election, she is fit to be in jail, National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah said Thursday.

The BJP on Wednesday announced Thakur as its candidate from Bhopal Lok Sabha seat, where she is set to have a direct contest with Congress heavyweight and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh.

 Omar Abdullah says if Sadhvi Pragya is healthy enough to contest Lok Sabha polls, she is fit enough to be in jail

File image of Sadhvi Pragya after she joined the BJP. ANI

After spending over eight years in jail in connection with the blast case, she was granted bail by the Bombay High Court in 2017 on health grounds. During the hearing of Thakur's bail plea, her lawyer had told the court that she was suffering from cancer.

"We are getting to hear new things from the BJP every time. First, they tried to fight elections on Balakot and Pulwama (attacks). Then, they tried speaking about development and when people did not digest it, they tried the religion card," the National Conference leader said.

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Omar Abdullah, who was talking to reporters after casting his vote, along with his father Farooq Abdullah, from Srinagar parliamentary constituency, said he hoped that the court hearing the case would cancel Thakur's bail.

"They know that they will not get votes with 'mandir-masjid' (Ayodhya issue), so they gave the mandate from Bhopal to a person who is an accused in a terror case and is out on bail citing poor health," he said.

"I hope the court which gave her bail cancels it as if she is fit enough to contest (election), she is fit to be in jail," he added.

The NC leader, whose father is the party's candidate from Srinagar, said these elections have been significantly different from the 2017 by-elections that Abdullah Senior had won.

"In that election, we barely managed one or two public meeting outdoors. All our election activity was confined to closed rooms and walled-off areas. In this election, thankfully, we found the electorate far more receptive," Omar Abdullah said.

The former chief minister expressed hope that assembly elections would also be held in the state soon.

The Centre is now "running out of excuses to delay the assembly elections", Omar Abdullah said.

"Assembly elections were delayed because of parliamentary (elections) and now that parliamentary elections are due to conclude, we can only hope that the Centre, together with the EC (election commission), gives the people of Jammu and Kashmir an elected government which is their right," he said.

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Updated Date: Apr 19, 2019 07:57:04 IST