New Delhi: Unfazed by the stiff opposition to her nomination as the Bharatiya Janata Party’s candidate from the Bhopal Lok Sabha constituency, Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur has termed the 2019 elections as a “Dharm Yuddh” against the forces maligning Hinduism. In an interview with The Sunday Guardian, she said she had forgiven her tormentors, but maintained that she would never forgive those who tried to paint crores of Hindus as terrorists and those who subjected a woman to brutality just to appease a section of voters. She claimed that she took the plunge in politics to end the vote bank politics of the Congress and that she had the support of all communities, including Muslims in Bhopal. Excerpts:

Q: What prompted your sudden plunge into electoral politics?

A: My sole objective is to end the politics of vote banks. Congress has divided the country on lines of caste and religion for petty political gains and my fight is against this. Indian culture and Hinduism profess universal brotherhood and equality, but the Congress dubbed Hindus as terrorists. A conspiracy was hatched to malign Hindutva and appease a section of voters. Digvijaya Singh was the mastermind who created the false narrative of “Hindu terror”. After the Congress fielded him from Bhopal, people came to me and requested me to contest against him. I saw anger in their eyes. The BJP leadership, too, thought that I should contest.

Q: Was Digvijaya Singh the main reason behind your decision to contest the  election?

A: I am waging a “Dharm Yuddh” against those who tried to malign Hindutva. God has made me the medium; I am a witness and a victim to the misdeeds of Congress. And when the main conspirator (Digvijaya Singh) was fielded from Bhopal, I had to fight him.

Q: So, is this your personal fight against the Congress?

A: It is not my individual fight. This is a battle for national consciousness. It’s a fight to restore the glory of Hindu dharma and saffron colour, which is being tarnished by the Congress and its leaders. It is anti-national and anti-religion. As an individual, I have forgiven my tormentors, but this fight will continue to ensure no other woman faces the atrocities I suffered in jail and no other Hindu devout is branded as a terrorist. I am also not seeking public sympathy but I am fighting for the Hindu pride.

Q: You are an accused in a terror case. What is your reaction to social and political outfits opposing your candidature?

A: There was no evidence against me in the Malegaon blast case and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has given me a clean chit. Only those who tried to divide the country by coining “Hindu terror” or members of the “tukde-tukde” gang are afraid of me. There is no case against me; I was framed illegally by the people in power. Their protest has no meaning. They are the ones who see Zakir Naik as their role model. People of this country won’t get carried away by such false narratives and those dividing our country will be rejected.

Q: But leaders from all Opposition parties as well as those whom you term as the “tukde tukde” gang are campaigning in Bhopal against you. Do you see them as a challenge?

A: I do not see them as any challenge to me. They stand exposed and people have already rejected their politics. Wait for the election results, they will be finished this time. These leaders have no understanding of Hindu religion and culture. I condemn the statements of Sitaram Yechury that Hindu religious books profess violence. Hindu culture exists due to these religious scriptures.

Q: BJP talks about development as the poll plank, but your main focus is Hindutva. Can development and Hindutva coexist?

A: Absolutely. In fact, Hindutva and development are synonymous. Hindu dharma says “Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah (all become happy)” and this can be achieved only through development. It is inappropriate to say that Hindutva and development cannot go together. The two forces guide us in the same direction.