Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh,the BJP MP from Kaiserganj in Uttar Pradesh has found himself at the center of sexual harassment allegations by India’s most-decorated women wrestlers including Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik.
A resident of Gonda district in Uttar Pradesh, Singh was a wrestler in his youth and became involved in student politics in the 1980s. He gained recognition for his strong ‘Hindutva image’ during the Ram Mandir movement in Ayodhya.
He first won the seat in 2009, on a Samajwadi Party ticket. He switched to BJP before the 2014 assembly elections and went on to win those elections. He retained the seat in the 2019 elections. His wife Ketki Devi Singh has been president of the Gonda Zila Panchayat and son Prateek Bhushan Singh is presently the MLA from the Gonda Sadar seat.
According to his election affidavit for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Singh has four pending cases against him in Ayodhya and Gonda. He faces charges such as dacoity, attempted murder and rioting, among others. There was also a case against him under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (TADA) in the mid-90s for allegedly harboring associates of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.
He had earlier made headlines when he threatened to teach a lesson to Raj Thackeray if he entered Ayodhya, at a time when Thackeray’s MNS was growing closer to the BJP. Despite criticism of his style of functioning, he has maintained his hold over the Wrestling Federation Of India for nearly a decade. He had even allegedly slapped a wrestler on stage during a function.
Surprisingly, in 2022, he publicly criticized the Uttar Pradesh government for “shoddy arrangements” during the floods, especially in Gonda district. “I have never seen such bad arrangements in my life,” he had said, adding that he may be labeled a “rebel” for “speaking the truth”.
In response to recent sexual harassment allegations leveled against him, Singh stated that they are false and that he is ready to be hanged if they were found to be true.