LUCKNOW: If politics is his profession, wrestling has always been his passion. While the six-time MP has seldom looked back in politics, despite facing more than 30 criminal cases at one point of time, including one under the draconian Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA), it’s wrestling that has forced him to take two steps backwards.
Accused of sexual harassment by a group of Olympians and international wrestlers, Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh has been asked to stay away from the affairs of the federation for four weeks, till an Indian Olympic Association (IOA) panel probes and submits its report about allegations against him.
Singh, who is fond of moving in choppers and lords over scores of educational institutions in Gonda and surrounding areas, has had a fair share of controversies in his political career of three decades. In fact, he must be a rare politician who had shared space in the CBI files with international terrorist Dawood Ibrahim on one hand and saffron leaders like LK Advani, MM Joshi and Kalyan Singh on the other.
As per the CBI records, Singh allegedly harboured shooters of Dawood who had gunned down three persons at Mumbai’s JJ Hospital in September 1992. Three months later, he was accused of conspiracy behind the demolition of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya. He was one of the 49 accused booked by the CBI for conspiracy.
He was eventually exonerated in both the cases. As per his latest affidavit filed before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, he faces just four criminal cases.
Born in 1957, at Bisnoharpur village in the family of local Congress leaders, Singh has cultivated his image of a ‘Bahubali’ in Gonda and surrounding districts. His village in Nawabganj block was close to Ayodhya and he studied at Saket Degree College there. That is where he first entered active politics by winning the post of students union general secretary.
Tasting political success, Singh started vying for government contract work in the region. However, this pitted him against the local ‘royalty’ — Raja Anand Singh, who was the Congress MP from Gonda then. Despite advice from his well-wishers, he decided to try his luck in the sugarcane corporation elections.
It is said that, the then district police chief called and asked him to withdraw his candidature. When Singh showed reluctance and the police superintendent raised his voice, a defiant Singh whipped out his pistol pointing at him. Narrating this incident himself in a recent interview, Singh said: “Thereafter, I left on a two-wheeler from the SP office.”
In another recent interview, he had even claimed to have killed one person who had shot dead his friend, Ravindra Singh, the brother of Pandit Singh, with whom he had a running feud till the latter passed away in 2021. Pandit Singh had lodged an murder attempt case against Brij Bhushan. “I pushed the man, who shot Ravindra and shot him dead,” the Kaiserganj MP confessed in the interview.
None of his claims could be independently verified.
His journey as an MP started in 1991 when BJP fielded him against Anand Singh in Gonda for his active role in Ram Janmabhoomi movement. In 1996, he was in Tihar jail for allegedly helping Dawood’s henchmen, hence the party fielded his wife Ketaki, who also defeated Anand Singh by 80,000 votes.
He won from Gonda in 1999 but before 2004 polls ran into a dispute with senior RSS functionary Nanaji Deshmukh over renaming of Gonda as Jayaprkash Nagar. While the then CM Mayawati announced the renaming at an event hosted by Deshmukh, Brij Bhushan launched a vehement protest against the move. The protest forced Mayawati to withdraw the decision, but Singh was shifted to Balrampur to contest the LS poll.
However, local BJP MLA Ghanshyam Shukla, who replaced him as the party candidate in Gonda, was killed in a road accident on the day of polling. Local BJP leaders claimed it was a urder and Brij Bhushan Sharan was accused of the crime. He claimed that the then PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee had called him up and said: “You got him killed.”
His relations with the BJP started worsening after this and he joined Samajwadi Party just before 2009 LS polls. The SP fielded him from Kaiserganj and he won for the fourth time. However, months before 2014 LS elections, he again switched over to BJP and won the Kaiserganj seat in next two polls.
With the rise in his political stature, his passion for wrestling kept on growing and apart from taking part in bouts, he also started organising big events. Soon, he joined the UP Wrestling Federation and went on to become its president. He then shifted to the national body and took over as the WFI chief in 2011. He has been elected to the post thrice since then. He has cultivated Gonda as a wrestling centre by opening a modern academy.
He introduced his family members in both politics and wrestling administration. His younger son Karan Bhushan Singh is now the vice-president of the WFI. Similarly, his one son-in-law is an office-bearer in the Bihar Wrestling Federation. His youngest son Prateek is a two-time MLA from Gonda while wife Ketaki Singh is the Gonda Zila Panchayat president.
Of late, he has been in news for various reasons and he was having his way while opposing MNS chief Raj Thackeray’s visit to Ayodhya, targeting Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali’s products or slapping a wrestler during an event in Ranchi.
However, this time the strongman from Nawabganj has been caught off-guard by the swift move of his own fraternity.





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