Ticket to Brij Bhushan’s son may put BJP in tight spot in Haryana - Hindustan Times
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Ticket to Brij Bhushan’s son may put BJP in tight spot in Haryana

By, Sunil Rahar, Chandigarh
May 04, 2024 08:06 AM IST

Move gives fodder to Opposition leaders who gun for saffron party; a number of wrestlers, khap and Opposition leaders in Haryana on Friday slammed the BJP for giving a ticket to Karan Bhushan.

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) seems to have provided ammunition to the Opposition in Haryana by fielding Karan Bhushan Singh, son of controversial former Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Singh, from Uttar Pradesh’s Kaiserganj Lok Sabha seat.

Olympic medal-winning grapplers Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia along with many others had staged a sit-in at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar last year demanding action against Brij Bhushan. (PTI FILE)
Olympic medal-winning grapplers Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia along with many others had staged a sit-in at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar last year demanding action against Brij Bhushan. (PTI FILE)

The ex-WFI chief has been accused by several women wrestlers, including those from Haryana, of sexual harassment. Olympic medal-winning grapplers Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia along with many others had staged a sit-in at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar last year demanding action against Brij Bhushan. A case was registered against Bhushan for sexual harassment, outraging the modesty of a woman, stalking and criminal intimidation in June 2023 by Delhi Police.

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While the BJP chose to ignore Brij Bhushan for Kaiserganj seat, it has stoked a controversy by announcing the candidature of his son. A number of wrestlers, khap and Opposition leaders in Haryana on Friday slammed the BJP for giving a ticket to Karan Bhushan.

“The BJP has proved that India’s wrestlers and their honour and dignity means nothing to them. This is an affront and brazen insult to the mass movement launched by country’s women’s wrestlers for upholding their honour against a serial offender like Braj Bhushan who was protected by the BJP as women wrestlers were dragged at Jantar Mantra by Delhi Police,” said Congress general secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala. “It’s a classic case of victims being punished and offender getting rewarded. This is Modi’s new India,’’ he added.

Chitra Sarwara, a woman Congress leader from Ambala, said the issue will have maximum impact in Haryana as the women wrestlers are daughters of Haryana. The state goes to the polls for 10 Lok Sabha seats on May 25. “The BJP is acting in a brazen manner. Its shows party’s male chauvinistic attitude and is a direct insult to women and public sentiment also. They deliberately want to snub you with the power,” Sarwara said.

Grappler Bajrang Punia said the BJP’s decision to field Karan Bhushan shows they have no respect for women. “The female wrestlers sat on a dharna seeking justice. The BJP which talks about women empowerment has demeaned them by giving ticket to his son. The BJP which is critical of dynastic politics is no different,” Punia said, accusing the BJP of supporting and shielding Brij Bhushan. “He was a powerful man and continues to remain so. We have lost faith in the government. The way Brij Bhushan ran WFI even after Sanjay Singh was elected as the new chief clearly shows that he will continue to wield influence if his son gets elected,” he added.

Another Olympic medal winner Sakshi Malik said that the BJP has shattered dreams of millions of daughters by giving ticket to Brij Bhushan’s son.

“We have lost and Brij Bhushan has won. Why couldn’t the BJP find any suitable candidate from Kaiserganj? The BJP needs votes in Lord Ram’s name but they have failed to follow the path shown by him. The party is supporting a man who is accused of sexually harassing women wrestlers,” Malik said.

Congress’s MLA Geeta Bhukkal said that the BJP’s decision to field Brij Bhushan’s son will demoralise the budding women wrestlers and they will feel more insecure.

“The BJP’s dual face has been exposed. On one hand, they talk about 33 % reservations to women in parliament and on the other, they reward the son of a person accused of sexual harassment,” Bhukkal said.

Former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said the women wrestlers are pride of Haryana. “There is widespread resentment in the state on the BJP’s move and this will impact the elections,’’ Hooda said.

Prof Ashutosh Kumar, a political scientist at Panjab University, Chandigarh, said the issue has the potential of becoming a poll issue in Haryana as many protesting wrestlers belong to the state. However, Prof Kumar said that the protesting women wrestlers have remained aloof from party politics since the beginning.

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