Wrestlers’ protest: Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, a bahubali pinned down to the ground

Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, a BJP MP from Kaiserganj in Uttar Pradesh and the president of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), is no ordinary politician. Accused of sexual harassment by star wrestlers who are protesting against him in Delhi and want him in jail, he is a muscleman whose writ runs in several districts of eastern Uttar Pradesh.Brij Bhushan has won Lok Sabha election six times, five times on BJP tickets and once on an SP ticket. It’s commonly said about him that he does not need the party in his area but the party needs him. Gonda, Balrampur, Ayodhya and Shravasti are some of the districts where he holds sway. He has built more than 50 educational institutions in his area which feed his support base with youth power.

Brij Bhushan has served three four-year terms as the WFI president in a row and now, after completing 12 years as the chief, he is ineligible to contest for the top post. His younger son Karan Bhushan Singh is now the vice-president of the WFI. His one son-in-law is an office-bearer in the Bihar Wrestling Federation. His youngest son Prateek is a two-time MLA from Gonda while wife Ketaki Singh is the Gonda Zila Panchayat president.

A chequered career
Brij Bhushan has had an eclectic political career, spanning from his participation in the Ram Janmabhoomi movement to being accused of harbouring hitmen of gangster Dawood Ibrahim.

His journey as an MP started in 1991 when BJP fielded him against Anand Singh in Gonda for his active role in Ram Janmabhoomi movement. In 1996, he was in Tihar jail for allegedly helping Dawood’s henchmen, hence the party fielded his wife Ketaki, who also defeated Anand Singh by 80,000 votes.

As per the CBI records, Singh allegedly harboured shooters of Dawood who had gunned down three persons at Mumbai’s JJ Hospital in September 1992. Three months later, he was accused of conspiracy behind the demolition of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya. He was one of the 49 accused booked by the CBI for conspiracy. He was eventually exonerated in both the cases. As per his affidavit filed before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, he faces four criminal cases now.

In an interview, he had claimed to have killed one person who had shot dead his friend, Ravindra Singh. “I pushed the man, who shot Ravindra and shot him dead,” he confessed in the interview. But his claims could not be independently verified.

Brij Bhushan’s relations with the BJP started worsening before the 2004 Lok Sabha polls, when as an MP from Gonda he challenged RSS veteran Nanaji Deshmukh who wanted to change the name of Gonda to Jayaprkash Nagar. He launched a protest against the move which then chief minister Mayawati had to shelve. For this, the party shifted him to Balrampur constituency from Gonda. Shortly, he was accused of killing the Lok Sabha candidate from the Gonda constituency. Brij Bhushan himself claimed in an interview that the then PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee had called him up and said: “You got him killed.”

Brij Bhushan cross-voted against his own party in a confidence motion by the opposition against the then UPA government in 2008. After this, he was expelled from the BJP and joined the Samajwadi Party just before 2009 Lok Sabha polls. The SP fielded him from Kaiserganj and he won for the fourth time. However, months before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, he switched back to the BJP and won the Kaiserganj seat in the next two polls.

Brij Bhushan was in the news for accusing Baba Ramdev of selling adulterated products. He had also protested against MNS chief Raj Thackrey’s Ayodhya visit for the latter’s views against north Indians.

Brij Bhushan the muscleman has finally met his match in protesting wrestlers. Though the Delhi Police has told the Supreme Court today that it would file an FIR against him, the protesting wrestlers say they won’t be satisfied with anything short of his arrest.

Brij Bhushan has indicated that he would fight with all his might to prove his innocence. “Friends, the day I reflect on my life, what I gained or lost, the day I feel I don’t have the strength to fight, the day I feel helpless, I won’t like to live a life like that. Instead of living such a life, I would wish that death embraces me,” he said in a video message recently.

Brij Bhushan has dismissed all charges against him. “I could not stop laughing at what these wrestlers were saying,” he told PTI recently. “If I had anything inappropriate with Sakshi Malik then why did she invite me to her wedding. They come to me with their personal matters and also family issues. They sit with my son and daughter-in-law and have food together and now suddenly they are alleging that I have harassed them. If that’s the case why do they come to my home?”

(With inputs from TOI and agencies)

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