Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh is the President of the Wrestling Federation of India and wrestlers have been on protest at Jantar Mantar in Delhi demanding action against him.
LUCKNOW — The “shield of invincibility” he wears comes from the influence he enjoys in half a dozen Lok Sabha constituencies, while Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh’s strong links with the saints and his role in the Ayodhya temple movement make him stronger than many other MPs in the BJP.
The dozens of educational institutions he owns in eastern UP add to his vote bank.
Moreover, the ongoing municipal elections have created a climate that works in favour of the six-term MP, who is currently in the eye of storm over allegations of sexual harassment from wrestlers.
Singh is the President of the Wrestling Federation of India and wrestlers have been on protest at Jantar Mantar in Delhi demanding action against him.
The Delhi Police has filed two cases against hin after the Supreme Court ordered them to do so.
One of the FIRs is over a complaint of sexual harassment by a minor, filed under the stringent Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, which gives no scope for bail.
Yet the Delhi police has made no efforts to arrest Singh, who insists that he will face an inquiry but will not resign “as a criminal”.
The BJP, that claims to be firm on discipline, has turned a proverbial Nelson’s eye to his behaviour.
Much before he took over as WFI President in 2011, Singh was known for his arm-twisting tactics.
A key player in the Ayodhya movement, he was known as a one-man army for the BJP in Uttar Pradesh at that time — the party then had minimal presence on the political centre stage in the state.
Born in Gonda in 1957, Singh’s interest in politics began as a college student in the seventies.
He entered politics with a vengeance when senior BJP leader L.K. Advani came to Gonda during the Ayodhya movement.
Singh offered to “drive” Advani’s Rath and this catapulted him to instant fame within the BJP.
Singh won his first election in 1991, defeating Raja Anand Singh from Gonda.
The following year, he was named as an accused in the Babri demolition case which consolidated his “pro-Hindu image”.
He was acquitted along with others in 2020.
Singh has been elected to the Lok Sabha six times from Gonda, Balrampur, and Kaiserganj and more than his political acumen, he has been known as a mafia of the region.
At one point of time, Singh was named in more than three dozen criminal cases.
In 1996, he was accused of sheltering associates of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim. He was booked under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (TADA) Act and jailed.
During his stint in prison, Atal Bihari Vajpayee allegedly wrote to him, asking him to take courage and “remember Savarkarji who was sentenced to life imprisonment”.
Later, he was acquitted in the case, mainly due to lack of evidence.
In 1996, when he was in jail, the BJP gave the Lok Sabha ticket to his wife Ketaki Singh and she won with a handsome margin.
The BJP, interestingly, has always given ample political protection to Singh mainly because of the clout he wields in eastern UP and among Rajputs.
The party leadership knows that it would lose out on seats if it showed the door to Singh.
Singh’s clout has only grown after the turn of the century and so has his money power.
His brazenness is evident from the fact that during the 2022 Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, Singh admitted in an interview to a TV channel that he had committed one murder, something that even the most dreaded criminal does not admit on camera.
In the interview, he said he shot the man who had killed Ravindra Singh. “I pushed the man who shot Ravindra Singh and shot him dead,” he said.
Earlier, in 2009, Singh had briefly parted ways with the BJP and joined the SP but he returned home to the BJP before Narendra Modi’s victory in 2014.
As his stature grew within the BJP, his “business” also flourished.
He owns around 50 schools and colleges and has interests in mining besides dabbling in liquor contracts, coal business and also real estate.
Singh is known to gift motorcycles, scooters, and money to students and supporters on his birthday every year.
His appointment as WFI chief in 2011, further added to his “weight”.
In December 2021, he did not think twice before slapping a wrestler on-stage during an event in Ranchi.
The kind of clout that Singh wields within the BJP, is evident from the fact that he has even slammed the Yogi Adityanath government and accused the bureaucracy of making elected representatives “touch their feet”. He also criticised the state government’s lack of preparedness for floods.
Political analysts are actually bewildered at the lack of action against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath who is known to take the bull by its horns — more so, if it is a mafia in question.
“One can simply not understand Yogi Adityanath turning a blind eye to Singh’s activities. It has to be pressure from the top that is preventing the Chief Minister from turning his bulldozer towards Singh’s kingdom,” said a party functionary.
The fact that no action, not even a word of disapproval, was taken in the matter, has made him even bolder.
“Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh believes he is invincible and does not fear even his own party leadership. No one can dare criticise him and even journalists keep a safe distance from him. The police bow before him. The clout he wields can only be seen to be believed,” said one of his former supporters.
On Sunday, Singh dropped broad hints about his political options when he praised SP President Akhilesh Yadav for not slamming him in the ongoing controversy.
With the municipal elections already underway, the BJP knows that any action against this powerful MP will be detrimental to party interests.
Moreover, with Lok Sabha elections just a few months away, the BJP cannot target Singh.
He is any day a more influential Thakur in the state politics even though it is Yogi Adityanath who is recognised as a Thakur leader.
And that is reason enough for the BJP to avoid any action against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. — IANS