Pragya Thakur's inclusion in defence panel draws flak

BJP MP Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur. (PTI photo)

 A political controversy erupted over the inclusion of Bhopal MP Sadhvi Pragya Thakur in the Parliamentary Consultative Committee on Defence with the Opposition describing it as an "insult" to every Indian, military and Parliament while the BJP defended her inclusion.

The panel headed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has Farooq Abdullah, Sharad Pawar, J P Nadda, Sougata Roy, A Raja, Supriya Sule and Ramesh Jigajinagi as among others. There are 21 MPs -- 12 from Lok Sabha and nine from Rajya Sabha -- who are part of the committee besides Singh and Minister of State for Defence Shripad Yesso Naik.

Soon after the list of members came out in public domain, Congress tweeted, "Pragya Thakur, a terror accused and Godse fanatic has been nominated by the BJP government to be a member of the Parliamentary Panel on Defence. This move is an insult to our nation's defence forces, to our nation's esteemed parliamentarians and to every Indian."

"Modi has not been able to forgive her from the heart but she has been given the responsibility on important issues such as the country's defence. That is why if there is Modi, anything is possible," tweeted Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala, referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi terming her Godse is patriot remark as "unfortunate" and that he would not be able to forgive her.

Strongly defending her inclusion in the panel, BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi said the Congress seems to have lost its faith in democracy and forgotten that Thakur is an elected member of Parliament. "People know that Thakur was falsely implicated by the Congress-led UPA government," she said. Thakur, who is on bail in the Malegaon blasts case, had defeated Congress' Digvijay Singh in the Lok Sabha elections.

Senior lawyer and activist Prashant Bhushan said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had earlier said that he could not forgive the Malegaon blasts case accused after she termed Nathuram Godse a patriot. "But of course a terror accused is the most suitable person for deciding country's defence," he tweeted.

CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Mohd Salim said, "former Home and Finance minister P Chidambaram is in jail, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti are under house arrest without any trial, but Pragya Thakur a terror accused who is out on bail is nominated in parliamentary defence panel." (ENDS)

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