How 'shaktishaali' Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh has ducked mud so far

The Indian Express | 1 week ago | 20-01-2023 | 02:45 pm

How 'shaktishaali' Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh has ducked mud so far

In the wrestling arena or out of it, fighting as a candidate of the BJP or the Samajwadi Party, in the contest as candidate or with his wife as proxy, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh has rarely lost a bout. But that streak might end now, with the growing allegations of sexual harassment against him by women wrestlers, who are demanding Singh’s resignation as the president of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI).A wrestler who tumbled into politics via the Ram Janmabhoomi movement, and who continues to face a case in the Babri Masjid demolition, Singh, 66, has kept his feet planted on the ground courtesy the image of a “dabangg” leader – or a “shaktishaali (powerful)” one, as he likes calling himself — who doesn’t need the BJP as much as the BJP needs him in at least half-a-dozen districts around his native Gonda in Uttar Pradesh.Singh is six-term MP (once from the SP), who has represented Gonda, Balrampur and now moved onto Kaiserganj, while his son Prateek Bhushan is into his second term as MLA from Gonda Sadar.This formidable record also explains why despite several scraps with the party, including the government of UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, there has been no attempt to touch his 10-year tenure as the WFI president and as vice-president of the United World Wrestling-Asia.Local leaders talk about the grand celebrations he holds every year on his birthday on January 8, where students shortlisted via a talent search examination are rewarded with motorcycles, Scooty and cash. This year, the event in Gonda and adjoining districts such as Lucknow, Ayodhya, Bahraich, Shrawasti, Balrampur and Barabanki saw the participation of Union Minister of State for Finance Pankaj Chaudhary.BJP leaders also mention the goodwill Brij Bhushan Singh has earned due to his active association with more than 50 educational institutions, including engineering, pharmacy, education and law, that that he helped set up in Bahraich, Gonda, Balrampur, Ayodhya and Shrawasti districts.“He has developed an empire in these districts through his clout. He gives a fee waiver to those students who are unable to pay. So, if he wins elections, it is both because of his clout and goodwill,” says a BJP leader from Gonda.At the same time, BJP leaders say, the party has kept its distance by not giving him any position within the organisation and Union government despite his repeated poll wins. His own team of workers look after his constituency including day-to-day issues that might come up.“Singh only takes the symbol of the party. He wins elections on his own,” says another party leader.The confidence means Singh has got away with incidents such as his criticism of the Adityanath government during the floods in the state in October last year. He accused the administration of being ill-prepared, not doing enough for relief, and said people had been left “bhagwan bharose (to the mercy of god)”. Singh also said that the existing government did not tolerate criticism and took it personally.While the Opposition raised the remarks to attack the Adityanath government, Singh did not earn any rebuke from the BJP.He has praised SP leader Azam Khan, one of the BJP’s biggest bugbears in the state, as “a mass leader”, and threatened Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray against visiting Ayodhya till he had apologised publicly for “humiliating” north Indians in Mumbai. The BJP had been courting the MNS leader as an ally at the time of topsy-turvy politics in Maharashtra.In private, the BJP had dismissed Singh’s remarks as publicity stunts.It was due to his association with the Ram Janmabhoomi movement and his influence in the areas around Ayodhya that Singh initially came to the notice of the BJP. The party first fielded him from the Gonda Lok Sabha seat in 1991. He won, and never looked back. In 1996, when he did not contest, the party gave a ticket to his wife Ketaki Devi Singh, and she too won.A constant presence at wrestling tournaments, be it national or international, senior or junior, Singh can be spotted with a microphone in hand, overseeing bouts, often shouting out instructions to referees, stopping and starting bouts and, at times, even throwing the rule book at judges. When he can’t be there, he is known to “monitor the proceedings virtually”.Whatever comes of the serious allegations Singh is now facing, that is almost certain to change.

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Votes cast for 5 MLC seats in Maharashtra after Congress rebellion row
Times of India | 1 day ago | 31-01-2023 | 07:09 am
Times of India
1 day ago | 31-01-2023 | 07:09 am

MUMBAI: Polling for five MLC seats for the teachers (Nagpur, Aurangabad and Konkan) and graduates (Nashik and Amravati) constituencies, marked by a controversy over the suspension of a father-son duo from the Congress for anti-party activities and utter confusion over selection of official nominees by political parties, took place on Monday.Though there are several candidates in the fray, it appears that there will be a straight contest between the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) and the BJP candidates. Counting will be held on February 2.The polling percentage in Nashik was 49.3; in Amravati it was 49.7, in Aurangabad 86, in Nagpur 86.2 and in Konkan it was 91 (figures rounded off).Such elections are barely controversial. But high drama was witnessed over the Nashik division graduates seat after Congress nominee Sudhir Tambe failed to submit his nomination form before the deadline and his son Satyajeet filed his instead as an independent canddiate.Sudhir Tambe is the brother-in-law of Congress legislature party leader and former revenue minister Balasaheb Thorat. The Congress high command had approved Sudhir Tambe's nomination, while he was keen on his son Satyajeet, a former state youth Congress president, getting nominated.According to former chief minister Ashok Chavan, the AICC had given Sudhir Tambe a blank authorization form so that either he or his son could file the nomination. On the last day of filing nominations, both the father and son reached the election office, but Satyajeet Tambe filed papers. MPCC president Nana Patole reacted sharply, alleging the Tambe family had ditched the Congress. According to reports, Satyajeet Tambe was vying for the BJP's support, but it did not take any decision.On the other hand, BJP activist Shubhangi Patil too was vying for the BJP's nomination, and when she failed to get it, she approached Uddhav Thackeray for the MVA's support. After several rounds of talks, the MVA alliance supported the candidature of Patil. As a result, Nashik will witness a straight between the BJP and the Congress rebel.Satyajeet' Tambe's presence in the fray is being viewed as a major embarrassment for Thorat. Patole claimed that the MVA nominees will win all five seats. "Teachers and graduates in these constituencies are with the MVA," he said. Leader of opposition Ajit Pawar and deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had toured extensively to campaign for the MVA and BJP nominees respectively for these five council constituencies.

Votes cast for 5 MLC seats in Maharashtra after Congress rebellion row
Maharashtra Minister Compared To Jyotiba Phule, Months After Ink Attack
Ndtv | 1 day ago | 30-01-2023 | 03:13 pm
Ndtv
1 day ago | 30-01-2023 | 03:13 pm

The minister's comment had stirred up a controversy, resulting in an ink attack on him. (File)Pune: Bharatiya Janata Party leader Chitra Wagh has compared Maharashtra cabinet minister and her senior party colleague Chandrakant Patil with social reformer Mahatma Jyotiba Phule.Wagh, who heads the state BJP women's wing, made the comments on Sunday at a programme organised here by local party leader Hemant Rasne which was also attended by Patil."We can see Savitribai (wife of Phule and pioneer of women's education in Maharashtra in the 19th century) in households, but a search is on for a Jyotiba (Phule) like Chandrakant Patil and BJP leader Hemant Rasne," she said.Notably, state Higher and Technical Education Minister Patil, who is an MLA from Pune, had kicked up a row by commenting that B R Ambedkar and Jyotiba Phule did not seek government grants for running educational institutions, but they “begged” people to gather funds for starting schools and colleges.The use of the word “begged” had stirred up a controversy, resulting in an ink attack on Patil.Meanwhile, Wagh, who had filed a complaint against social media influencer Uorfi Javed for dressing "improperly" in public, said the latter should be praised as she has started wearing full clothes.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.com"I never had any problem with that woman or with any religion. I had a problem with abnormality but now I think we should praise her because she is seen in full clothes now. I have received multiple photographs of her and I can see she's wearing good clothes," Wagh said responding to a query from reporters.(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)Featured Video Of The DayShah Rukh Khan's Signature Pose And A Pathaan-Special Dance

Maharashtra Minister Compared To Jyotiba Phule, Months After Ink Attack
In 2024 Lok Sabha polls, PM Modi will break all records and NDA will retain power: Maha CM Shinde
The Economic Times | 4 days ago | 27-01-2023 | 05:11 pm
The Economic Times
4 days ago | 27-01-2023 | 05:11 pm

Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Friday said that in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will break all records and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) will retain power with a thumping majority. He was talking to reporters after attending the live screening of 'Pariksha Pe Charcha' event addressed by PM Modi. Shinde saw the programme at the municipal school in Kisan Nagar locality of the city, where he had studied.Stating that he was pleased to witness the 'Pariksha Pe Charcha' programme in Thane, where he grew up, Shinde added that he was proud of being a civic school student. Replying to a question on the results of a recent political survey conducted by a media house on the next year's Lok Sabha polls, he said, "In the next general elections, PM Modi will break all records and the NDA will return to power with a thumping majority." Shinde said a survey conducted on just a handful of people does not give a true picture. "They ignored the results of the recently-concluded gram panchayat elections, where the Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena (Shinde-led faction) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) performed very well," he said. "In politics, two plus two is not always four. A survey based on just a handful of people does not give the real picture...I have got the details of how many people were surveyed. I do not want to go into any figures," he said. In the two-and-a-half years before he became the chief minister, a "government with negativity" was in power, Shinde said while referring to the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government led by Uddhav Thackeray. But there is a government with positivity in the state now. There was dissatisfaction in the state during the previous government's rule. But we launched several development works and changed the entire atmosphere in the state, he said. "Now, even I will not be able to say as to who will join hands with whom and whose alliance will break apart. But the Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena and BJP have been doing good work and this is a government of the common man. People have already decided whom they will vote for and we understand people's response," he said. "The survey said that the NDA government will come to power and that the popularity of PM Modi is increasing. Is it any different in Maharashtra?...We will be leading whenever elections are held. People of the state have already made up their mind. Hence, those who want to enjoy the opinion poll results for the next one-and-a-half years, let them enjoy," he said. "We are not afraid of elections. Future itself will give replies to the predictions of the survey," he said. During his visit to Thane city on Thursday, Shiv Sena (UBT) president and former chief minister Uddhav Thackeray had alleged that the Sena and Maharashtra were defamed due to the "betrayal and defections" that took place, a reference to Shinde and 39 MLAs bringing down the MVA government.Replying to Thackeray's remarks, Shinde said, "We give replies through our work. If you make two allegations, we will carry out four works. It will be our reply. People are not interested in allegations and counter-allegations." "When 50 MLAs, 13 MPs and several office-bearers of the party across the country and even close relatives deserted them, then they should have done soul searching and introspected. Instead of that, they are indulging in allegations. I wish them all the best," he said. Students from 968 schools, including 140 civic ones, in Thane witnessed the 'Pariksha pe Charcha' programme at their schools, BJP MLC and party's Thane city district president Niranjan Davkhare said in a release.

In 2024 Lok Sabha polls, PM Modi will break all records and NDA will retain power: Maha CM Shinde
Fadnavis' about-face on old pension scheme puts Karnataka BJP in fix
The Economic Times | 4 days ago | 27-01-2023 | 07:50 am
The Economic Times
4 days ago | 27-01-2023 | 07:50 am

Maharashtra deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis softening his stand on reintroducing the old pension scheme (OPS) for government employees is likely to put the ruling BJP in Karnataka in a tight spot as it struggles to take on the Congress in the run-up to the assembly polls.Fadnavis had rejected the demand last month, saying the government would need Rs '1.10 lakh crore to implement the OPS, potentially bankrupting the state. The BJP leader has, however, softened a bit, an about-face attributed to the political compulsions ahead of the assembly polls in Maharashtra next year.In Karnataka, the Congress, JD(S) and AAP have spoken sympathetically to government employees who resorted to a dharna in Bengaluru last month demanding restoration of the OPS. The state stopped the scheme on March 31, 2004. ET BureauCongress leader Siddaramaiah, a former chief minister, who has the distinction of presenting the state budget 13 times, met sections of agitating employees last month and promised to present their case before the party leadership.Karnataka will have an assembly election in about three months and the senior Congress leader's visit, last month, to the site where sections of government employees were staging a dharna, came after AAP leaders pledged their support. The AAP did it in Punjab, but the same promise did not make much impact in the recent Gujarat polls.In November, Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai set up the seventh pay commission, seeking to increase the pay and perks of government employees. But within weeks, the employees' union was on the streets with its OPS demand, leaving the BJP in a tight spot. In Gujarat, the BJP won the polls with a massive majority in, though the Congress and AAP have switched to the OPS in states they are in power.Public finance experts suspect the Congress in Karnataka may be tempted to take a populist course as it has already implemented it in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, where it is in power, and in Jharkhand, where it is a coalition partner. Siddaramaiah, who was the CM from 2013 to 2018, had recently said his regime's decision to implement the sixth pay commission recommendation cast an additional annual burden of '10,600 crore.CT Ravi bats for political consensus on OPSMeanwhile, BJP national general secretary CT Ravi, who is in-charge of Maharashtra, called for a national consensus by political parties on restoring the OPS in view of its impact on the state finances.Ravi told ET on Thursday that while a state's own ability should guide implementation of the OPS, it is nevertheless prudent for parties to discuss the subject and take a decision in national interest. On Fadnavis softening his stand on the OPS, the senior leader said the subject had not been discussed with him.Ravi said it would be better if all political parties placed the issue before a national body like NITI Aayog, discuss the subject comprehensively and take a call above party lines as competitive politics posed the danger of wrecking a state's finances.

Fadnavis' about-face on old pension scheme puts Karnataka BJP in fix