Under criticism, Singh digs in, and the BJP is uncertain about its next move

While Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh told The Deccan Era on Friday that the BJP had not asked him for clarification and that the party “need not enter the picture,” sources say there is unease within the BJP regarding the intensifying protests by some of the country’s best wrestlers against its long-serving MP.

In light of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s insistence on recognizing and honouring their efforts, there is also concern about the effect the dispute may have on the morale of other athletes.

However, according to reports, the BJP is in a bind.

Given Singh’s political power in UP and the fact that the charges against him must be investigated prior to a “summary dismissal,” the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) is taking its time requesting Singh’s resignation as its president.

Interestingly, Singh’s four-year term is slated to finish in March. He has served as WFI president for ten years, having been elected for the third time in February 2019.

According to sources, Singh asserts there is a “conspiracy” behind the charges since he “angered a few powerful figures.” On Friday, he said publicly that he would not resign.

Last month, Singh labelled Baba Ramdev the “lord of adulterators” and demanded an investigation into his food products, prompting a letter from the yoga guru requesting an apology. Singh declined to comply.

Last year, the Kaiserganj member of parliament criticised the Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government for its flood management, blaming it for being unprepared and not doing enough for relief and stating that the people had been left “bhagwan bharose”

Meanwhile, the opposition is increasing the pressure. On Friday, the Congress requested that the WFI be dissolved and that Prime Minister Modi explain what action was taken when a wrestler apparently brought issues to his attention in 2021.

Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi questioned the Union Sports Ministry and National Commission for Women’s (NCW) “failure of action” against Singh. “The NCW has taken unilateral action in a number of instances in the past, but in this case, they are waiting for female wrestlers to report first.” “Amazing double standards,” tweeted Chaturvedi.

When asked what the NCW was doing in response to the issue, Rekha Sharma, the organization’s chair, stated that no complaint had been received. She told The wrestlers should file a complaint with us if they want us to take action.

In 2018, when Union minister M J Akbar was accused of sexual harassment by female journalists, his party requested that he resign.

In 2019, the BJP dismissed UP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar, accused of committing a rape in Unnao, from the party.

In March 2021, Karnataka Water Resources Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi resigned from the Karnataka Cabinet following charges of sexual harassment.

Sandeep Singh, a former hockey player-turned-politician, remains in the Haryana government despite allegations of sexual harassment by a female coach. Despite protests, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has maintained that Singh cannot be ousted on the basis of charges, despite the fact that he was stripped of the Sports Ministry.

An MP from the BJP’s women’s wing, reflecting the uneasiness at the party’s silence on Brij Bhushan Singh’s allegations, stated, “We must take swift action” (they pick and choose who to take action against). There is no universal standard.

A party leader emphasized that proper procedure must be followed. “The prior resignations did not occur overnight. The party leadership evaluated the concerns and launched its own investigations. “The recommendations were made (to the leaders) following the investigations.”

The commander noted that Akbar’s situation was likewise distinct from those of the others: “It occurred at the height of the global #MeToo movement.” The foreign community was watching the Indian leadership to see what steps it would take in response to the BJP and the government’s efforts to empower women, notably the “Beti Padhao, Beti Bachao” campaign.

At the time, Akbar held the prominent position of Minister of State for External Affairs.

Given the wrestlers’ prominence and the prevalence of similar occurrences in the athletic world, a second leader suggested that the party may have to reassess its position if the claims against Singh escalate and attract international attention. Singh is also the vice president of the United World Wrestling-Asia.

In an interview with The Indian Express, Singh stated that he had scheduled a conference of the federation’s general body on January 22 in Ayodhya, at which all of these problems will be considered. There are approximately 80 people in the general membership.

Singh stated that neither the party (BJP) nor he had approached any leader for clarification. “This is an accusation I must answer for myself.” “My party is not required to be included.”

He said that an industrialist in the “naqli” (adulterated) ghee business and a Congress representative from Haryana were behind “the campaign” against me. “Those bringing complaints of sexual harassment must specify with whom, where, and when the alleged incidents occurred”

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