Although the former WFI head has stepped down temporarily, the BJP will probably go easy on him now.
In Uttar Pradesh, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh is known as a bahubali neta (muscleman leader). Riding high on the politics of mandal-kamandal (metaphorically, caste and religion) that raged in Uttar Pradesh in the 1990s, Singh was first elected to the Lok Sabha on a BJP ticket from Gonda in 1991. A strongman with a criminal history, he served as an MP for six terms, five times for the BJP and once for the Samajwadi Party (SP).
In Gonda district, Singh’s supporters spanning caste groups consider him a guardian angel because of the development work he has done in his constituency.
But the recent allegations by the wrestlers have brought him under the scanner: a viral video shows him coming out of the gym accompanied by at least 20 people while in another video from December 2021, he can be seen slapping a wrestler during the Under-15 National Wrestling Championship tournament in Ranchi.
Although the WFI head has stepped down for the time being, the BJP will probably go easy on Singh now, with the general election just a year away.
Singh, a law graduate of Avadh University, was elected to the Lok Sabha from Balrampur in 2004. However, in 2008, he quit the BJP and joined the Samajwadi Party. He won the Kaiserganj seat on the SP ticket in 2009, but in the lead-up to the 2014 parliamentary election, he rejoined the BJP and won the same seat once more.
“Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh is a strong figure with significant swaying power in the Gonda-Balrampur area. Before acting against him, the party [BJP] will consider all those factors,” said a prominent Lucknow-based journalist.