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Sadhvi’s BJP connection

bhopal Updated: Oct 26, 2008 01:01 IST
Saeed Khan

Though Malegaon terror accused Pragya Singh’s antecedents as an ABVP activist in Ujjain in the mid-1990s were well known, Hindustan Times investigations have accessed irrefutable evidence establishing her links with top BJP leaders.

Pragya, HT found out, continued to hobnob with top BJP leaders, including its national president Rajnath Singh and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh as recently as February. She had now taken sanyas and became Sadhvi Purnachetanand.

The meeting between the sanyasin and the two top-ranking BJP leaders took place at a condolence meeting for MLA Laxman Singh Gaud at the latter’s residence. Indore Mayor Uma Shashi Sharma, and the MLA’s widow, Malini Gaud, were also present on the occasion.

Pragya is reported to have spent several days at Gaud’s residence after the hardline Hindutva leader was killed in an accident at Dewas Bypass Road on February 11.

Even after quitting politics, the sanyasin appears to have had cordial relations with Gaud appearing alongside the legislator in public on several occasions.

According to sources, Juna Akhada head Swami Avdeshanand provided a common link between the two.

“Pragya took diksha from the Swami who also managed the arrangements for the ambitious Koticahnda mahayajna organised by Gaud,” said a local leader.

The documentary proof linking BJP leaders with the Malegaon accused has left Congressmen beaming. But local office-bearers, including the city president Pramod Tandon, too, have shared the dais with the sanyasin at least once.

The occasion was a communal amity meet organised in Indore-II, Gaud’s constituency, in December last year. The programme was organised by the Sadbhavna Manch, reportedly chaired by a local Congress leader.

The city president vehemently denied the charges. “The Congress had nothing to do with the programme,” Tandon told Hindustan Times.

Tandon, however, admitted he had participated in the meet, saying: “As party president he attended many programmes whether they were organised by maulanas or sadhus”.