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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 18 June 2024

Family values: Editorial on Lok Sabha ticket to ex-WFI chief Brij Bhushan Singh’s son

Sakshi Malik, the Olympic medal winner who saw Karan Bhushan Singh’s candidature as a defeat for women, had quit wrestling in protest at that time. Others had returned their awards

The Editorial Board Published 07.05.24, 06:53 AM
Brij Bhushan Singh.

Brij Bhushan Singh. File Photo

Awareness of power seems to bestow a sense of immunity. The Bharatiya Janata Party finds dynastic politics a major source of corruption in its opponents. Yet it is quite frank in promoting a dynasty of its own. Karan Bhushan Singh, the son of the former chief of the Wrestling Federation of India, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, is the BJP candidate for the Kaiserganj Lok Sabha seat in Uttar Pradesh, that his father won multiple times. Karan Bhushan Singh’s mother was elected member of parliament from Gonda and his elder brother is a member of the legislative assembly from there. Not only is the son following close on the heels of the father in politics, but the dynastic power play also extends to administrative positions. The son took over the leadership of the UP wrestling association, which the father had held for 12 years. This is not the only instance of the BJP’s active endorsement of parivarvaad within the saffron family. But what is most striking about the BJP’s decision to field Karan Bhushan Singh is the fact that Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh was accused of harassing, molesting and stalking women wrestlers as WFI chief; the protests against him included two extended periods in which wrestlers, most of them women, spent days on the street while facing repeated police pressure. The accused was not arrested, and the case is still being heard. So the dynastic politics that the BJP feels confident enough to engage in is deeply tainted — with sexual corruption, coercion and callousness.

The callousness has hurt women wrestlers most, but it is a message for all women. The prime minister’s oft-repeated slogan about saving women and the BJP’s bleeding hearts for women’s hardships have nothing to do with the party’s practice. Fielding Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh’s son displays arrogant indifference towards sexual crimes: women are merely good fodder for rousing rhetoric. It also devalues the honour women wrestlers have brought to the country. This was sufficiently clear when Sanjay Singh, the former WFI chief’s follower, replaced him as the federation head. Sakshi Malik, the Olympic medal winner who saw Karan Bhushan Singh’s candidature as a defeat for women, had quit wrestling in protest at that time. Others had returned their awards. The candidature is an insult to all sportspersons and all women, not just wrestlers. But the gap between preaching and practice obviously does not bother the BJP as long as it is its own.

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