BJP MP Pragya Thakur, who is out on bail in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case, has been nominated to the crucial parliamentary consultative committee on defence.
Thakur will be part of the 21-member committee headed by defence minister Rajnath Singh, according to a bulletin issued by the Lok Sabha secretariat.
The BJP fielded Pragya from Bhopal, claiming her candidature was a political statement against the Congress’ campaign against “saffron terror”.
In September, the Congress had described as “numerical authoritarianism” the denial of the chairpersonship of any among three key parliamentary standing committees — on finance, external affairs and defence — that it had headed in recent Houses.
The three committees are crucial to the parliamentary oversight of major government decisions.
Congress MPs headed the committees on finance and external affairs in the previous House despite the party having just 40-odd Lok Sabha members. Congress members headed the committee on defence between 2004 and 2014.
Thakur defeated senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh by a margin of 3,64,822 votes to win the Bhopal seat for the BJP.
The MP has courted controversy a few times, including terming Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse a “patriot”.
In August 2019, she accused the Opposition of using black magic against ruling party leaders in the context of the recent deaths of former BJP ministers. All three leaders she named died had died in August, including former Union ministers Arun Jaitley and Sushma Sushma and former chief minister of Madhya Pradesh Babulal Gaur.
She also claimed that her 'curse' had killed Mumbai cop Hemant Karkare, who died during the 26/11 attack shortly after arresting her.
Thakur also kicked off a controversy on her first day in Parliament by affixing her spiritual guru’s name to hers while taking the oath as an MP, triggering Opposition protests in the Lok Sabha.
The Bhopal MP appended “Swami Purna Chetanand Avdheshanand Giri” to her name while taking the oath in Sanskrit. Opposition members rose in protest, accusing her of straying from the prepared text and asserting this was not allowed.