Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, a former Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief and member of parliament (MP) for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has been accused of sexual harassment by female wrestlers. On Sunday, he declared that he would run for office again in 2024 from Kaiserganj in east Uttar Pradesh.
The six-term MP, who has consistently refuted the accusations levelled against him, made the statement regarding the elections following a rally in the Gonda district, which is his Lok Sabha area. The protest was conducted to mark the end of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s nine-year term in office.
“2024 ka chunav Kaiserganj se ladoonga, ladoonga, ladoonga (I will contest the 2024 Lok Sabha polls from Kaiserganj),” he said, repeating the word ‘ladoonga’ (will contest) thrice, to queries by media persons seeking his response on if he would contest the 2024 polls from Gonda or Ayodhya.
The BJP would once more form a majority government at the Centre, he added.
The gathering was a component of the BJP’s “maha jansampark abhiyaan” (mega mass connect campaign). His earlier cancellation of the June 5 public gathering in Ayodhya was due to the ongoing police inquiry into him.
He responded to the wrestlers’ protest by saying he was awaiting the court’s decision in the matter.
The top wrestlers protesting Singh had threatened to restart their protests on Saturday if no investigations into the allegations of sexual harassment against him were concluded by June 15.
In order to highlight his influence in the area, he also conducted a road show from his home to the location of the public gathering.
Because of the Emergency of 1975 and the anti-Sikh riots that followed the killing of the then-prime minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh security guards, he specifically targeted the Congress.
A PM similar to Modi, he added, would have released the Indian land that had been annexed by neighbours in the 1960s and 1970s.
Political analysts noted that Singh attacked the Congress throughout the rally but avoided attacking the Samajwadi Party (SP), the largest opposition party in the state of Uttar Pradesh from which he had defected to the BJP, or the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
It might also imply that he wants to remain flexible. He had lauded SP leader Akhilesh Yadav for declining to join the wrestlers’ protest, as one might well recall. If he doesn’t receive a BJP ticket, this certainly seems to be a possibility in politics, according to Athar Siddiqui of the Centre for Objective Research and Development.