Bhopal: The street-level campaign for the Bhopal Lok Sabha seat doesnt match the nationwide audio-visual attention showered on the constituency.
Stars have descended from Bollywood, celebrities from the intellectual field have thronged the Madhya Pradesh capital and yet the decibels have not reached the levels warranted by such focus.
The BJP has concentrated on projecting Narendra Modi as the sole reason to vote for the party. When the party zeroed in on Pragya Thakur as the candidate to take on veteran Congress leader Digvijaya Singh it was clear that communal polarisation would take precedence over political merit of the discourse.
Many activists from Bollywood have descended on Bhopal to campaign against the Sadhvi particularly since her comments on Hemant Karkare have evoked sharp reactions in Maharashtra.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis who came to Indore to campaign for the party said Pragya should have avoided commenting against Hemant Karkare who is acknowledged as a martyr not just by Maharashtra but by the entire nation. The BJP has nothing to do with th' Sadhvi's statement which was her personal view.
Interestingly, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has backed up Pragya on her statement.
Actress Swara Bhaskar clad in a saffron saree makes a statement. She said s'ffron doesn't afford any extra strength to the person. It is a sign of sacrifice. She was not afraid of the fraudsters coming in saffron garb. Terror may not have a religion but a terrorist does have one. There could be a Hindu terrorist just as there can be a Muslim terrorist.
Another saffron-clad activist Swami Agnivesh who once contested the Lok Sabha elections from Bhopal questio'ed the Sadhvi's claim that the fight was between Dharma and Adharma (right and wrong). It was the Sadhvi who strayed on the side of Adharma. He said there was nothing wrong in a Sadhu joining the politics as it was meant for the welfare of the society. The saffron represents the purity of fire. It could not be misused for spreading hate and discrimination.
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, who campaigned for the party in Bhopal during the weekend said Pragya Singh Thakur went around to riding her motorcycle (wearing jeans and T-shirt) to terrorise people. She was a habitual offender who had stabbed a man and had attacked many people with slippers. The saffron robes were a much later acquisition and could not instantly turn her into a Sadhvi if she continued to harbour criminal thoughts.
The Election Commission in the meantime stalled the launch of a short film - "Bhagwa Aatankwad Bhramjaal" in the state. The flick argues that Pragya Thakur was tormented over trumped-up charges in Malegaon blast. The launch aborted midway on Monday.
An EC team along with MP Nagar police reached the hotel where the short film made on Samjhauta Express, Malegaon, Ajmer Dargah and Mecca Masjid blasts were being shown to journalists at its launch. It was stopped midway.
The movie showed Swami Aseemanand and the Pragya Singh Thakur and others in police custody.
MP Nagar police station in-charge Inspector Manish Rai said that the EC revoked the permission it had given to the organisers Bharat Vichar Manch (BVM) to hold the show, following a complaint by the Congress.
Captain Vikas Pandey a member of the BVM said Mumbai-based producer of the short film Rajiv Pandey has planned the launch of the film "or Madhya Pradesh here.
"They are free to show the film after May 12 - after the election" for Bhopal seat gets over," says Congress "pokesman Bhupendra Gupta.
"The EC has put off the release of the biopic on former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The same argument applies for this movie feat"ring Malegaon accused Pragya," said Gupta.