Protesting wrestlers are toys in hands of Opposition, says WFI chief Brij Bhushan Singh

Mr. Singh lauds Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav for not associating himself with the ongoing protest by top wrestlers

Updated - May 01, 2023 01:05 am IST

Published - April 30, 2023 03:02 pm IST - Gonda

Wrestling Federation of India chief Brij Bhushan Singh speaks to the media at Gonda in Uttar Pradesh on April 30, 2023.

Wrestling Federation of India chief Brij Bhushan Singh speaks to the media at Gonda in Uttar Pradesh on April 30, 2023. | Photo Credit: PTI

Embattled WFI chief and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh on April 30 praised Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav for not associating himself with the ongoing protest by top wrestlers of the country, saying Mr. Yadav was “standing with the truth”.

Mr. Singh is in the eye of a storm after the grapplers levelled sexual harassment charges against him and demanded registration of an FIR against him as well as his ouster from the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI).

Various political parties, including the Congress, AAP and others, have lend their support to the protesting wrestlers.

The Delhi Police had on Friday registered two FIRs against Mr. Singh on allegations of sexual harassment levelled by seven women wrestlers. While the first FIR pertained to allegations of a minor wrestler and was registered under the POCSO Act, the second was related to outraging modesty.

Talking to PTI, the WFI president said on Sunday, “I want to thank the leader of Samajwadi party, Akhilesh Yadav, (for not siding with the protesting wrestlers). I know him since his childhood. I am elder to him. Though there are political differences between us, Akhilesh knows the truth.

“... if there are 10,000 wrestlers in UP, out of them, 8,000 are from the Yadav community and they belong to the Samajwadi family, and hence know the truth,” he said.

Mr. Singh, who has remained defiant of not quitting his post, however, said he was ready to resign if it would make the protesters go back home and sleep peacefully.

“If they (protesters) will go back (to their home) and sleep peacefully after my resignation, I am ready to resign,” he said.

The BJP MP from Kaiserganj added that the protesters are mere “toys” in the hands of the Opposition.

“All these players have become toys of the Congress and other opposition parties. Their motive is political, not my resignation,” he said, adding that he is yet to receive a copy of the FIR registered against him.

Mr. Singh also said that players associated with railways were sitting at the protest site in Delhi’s Jantar Mantar, and wondered why the railway board was not stopping them.

“It is their right to protest, but can a player associated with the railways sit on protest like this where objectionable slogans are being raised against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath,” he asked.

The protesting wrestlers had on April 29 warned against using their platform for political gains claiming few people were trying to take their fight for justice to a different direction, even as Singh had said that he was ready to face “any kind” of probe but would not resign from his post.

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