Guess who is tom-tomming the “achievements” of nine years of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre?
Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, the outgoing wrestling chief and BJP parliamentarian. The country’s top wrestlers have accused the outgoing Wrestling Federation of India president of sexually harassing women wrestlers.
On Sunday, Singh organised a 50-jeep, 35km roadshow in his eastern Uttar Pradesh constituency of Kaisarganj before addressing a rally.
The ostensible reason was to laud the performance of the nine-year-old Modi government, which Singh did, his shawl sporting an image of a beshawled Modi himself.
But Singh appeared to send out a message to his party bosses, too.
The Modi government has so far stonewalled the wrestlers’ demand to have him arrested, apparently because it believes he can deliver the BJP a handful of seats in next year’s general election.
This political clout is what Singh wanted to underline with his rally, a close associate of the MP told The Telegraph in Lucknow.
“The main objective is to tell Prime Minister Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah that he is in a position to damage the BJP’s prospects in Kaisarganj, Gonda, Balrampur, Faizabad and Shravasti constituencies, from where his supporters came to participate in the public meeting held after the road show,” the associate, who didn’t want to be identified, said.
Singh’s fate hangs in the balance till June 15.
Sports minister Anurag Thakur has assured the wrestlers that the Delhi police, who report to the Union home ministry, would complete their probe by June 15 and file a chargesheet.
The associate said Singh was aware of speculation that Modi and Shah might ask him to resign as MP, and that Shah might ask the police to arrest him. “But he is not ready to submit. In fact, he has defied party rules by declaring at the rally that he would contest from Kaisarganj in 2024,” the associate said.
A poll committee formed by the BJP before elections is alone authorised to pick the candidates. The roads along Singh’s jeep rally from his home in Vishnoharpur village to Balpur were largely empty. The saffron-clad MP stopped at about 10 places to be garlanded by a few dozen waiting supporters.
The public meeting that followed at Balpur, held ostensibly to celebrate the Modi government’s completion of nine years, attracted about 10,000 people. The six-time MP read out a Hindi couplet at the beginning of his speech and then declared: “I will contest again from Kaisarganj.”
The couplet was about continuing affection amid betrayal, but Singh refused to explain its significance to reporters after the event. “This is how I am,” he said and got into his car. Mohan Yadav, minister of state for higher education in Madhya Pradesh, was the chief guest at the meeting and several local BJP leaders were on the dais.
Ask Shah: Vinesh
Vinesh Phogat, the double world medallist, on Sunday joined the protesting farmers in Punjab and on her way spoke to the media at Khatkar Toll Plaza in Haryana, PTI reported. Asked about the meeting the wrestlers had with home minister Shah, Phogat said: “They had given a few proposals that they can do that much for us but except the arrest of Brij Bhushan, everything is happening.”
Asked why Singh is not being arrested, the firebrand wrestler said: “You have to ask Amit Shah, why he (WFI chief) is not being arrested. He is such a powerful man that the government is trying to shield him. So getting him arrested is not easy but we are continuing our fight.”