Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik meet sports minister, want Brij Bhushan aide out of WFI polls
The pair seek Anurag Thakur’s intervention to ensure no associate of the former federation chief contests the December 21 elections
Two days after the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) elections were announced, Olympic medallists Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik met union sports minister Anurag Thakur at his residence on Monday, requesting him to stop any close aide of former federation president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh from contesting.
The elections, delayed since August due to a court stay, are scheduled to be held on December 21 during WFI’s AGM with the results to be announced the same day.
Punia and Malik, along with Vinesh Phogat, led the wrestlers’ protest earlier this year demanding action against Brij Bhushan over alleged sexual harassment. The three top wrestlers sat in protest at Jantar Mantar for 36 days before they were forcibly evicted by police.
Punia and Malik had met Thakur in June for a six-hour discussion following which the minister had agreed on a raft of demands, including the removal of Brij Bhushan and his associates from WFI and holding of transparent elections to the federation.
The main objection of the wrestlers is to the candidature of Sanjay Singh for the WFI president’s post. Singh, a Brij Bhushan loyalist, is challenged for the post by 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Anita Sheoran. If Sheoran wins, she will become WFI’s first woman president.
“We met the sports minister today and reminded him of his promise that no one related to Brij Bhushan should contest the WFI elections,” Punia told PTI. “Sanjay Singh is his close associate and should withdraw from the election race, otherwise we will decide our future course of action soon. We conveyed that to the minister,” he said.
“We want some former wrestler to take charge of WFI who at least knows what it takes to win medals for the country. Anita ji is a Commonwealth Games medallist and understands the demands of wrestlers,” he said.
Speaking to reporters outside Thakur’s residence, Malik said the government must fulfil its promise. “We met the minister regarding WFI elections. We stopped our protests after listening to the government but now it is the time for the government to fulfill its promise that no one related to Brij Bhushan should get a post in the federation. Anurag Thakur said that the government will keep its promise, and we hope the same.”