BJP drops Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, fields his younger son Karan Bhushan from Kaiserganj - Hindustan Times
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BJP drops Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, fields his younger son Karan Bhushan from Kaiserganj

May 02, 2024 09:04 PM IST

BJP names Uttar Pradesh minister Dinesh Pratap Singh for the Rae Bareli Lok Sabha seat. He had reduced the then Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s victory margin in 2019

The Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday ended the suspense on Uttar Pradesh’s Kaiserganj and Rae Bareli Lok Sabha seats, which have been under intense public and media scrutiny for different reasons, barely 36-hours ahead of the close of nominations, dropping its controversial but heavyweight sitting MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh while settling for his 33-year-old son Karan Bhushan.

BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh with his son Karan Bhushan. (FILE PHOTO)
BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh with his son Karan Bhushan. (FILE PHOTO)

The party also reposed faith in Uttar Pradesh minister Dinesh Pratap Singh, who had reduced the then Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s winning margin in 2019, in Rae Bareli. The Congress is yet to name its candidate for the seat though there the buzz is that a “Gandhi family” member could contest the family pocket borough.

At Brij Bhushan’s Gonda home, supporters had started distributing sweets and as soon as the BJP made the decision official, sloganeering in support of Brij Bhushan and his son began.

The suspense on Kaiserganj was all the more as the Samajwadi Party had also tactically held back declaring its candidate on the seat, giving rise to speculation that the state’s main opposition party was looking to accommodate the politically influential Brij Bhushan, despite him being accused by some of country’s top wrestlers of misusing his authority as Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief, a post he doesn’t hold now for the first time since 2012.

A chargesheet was filed against six-time MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh under Sections 354, 354D and 345A of the Indian Penal Code for stalking and sexual harassment on June 15.

“Yes, my son has got the ticket,” Brij Bhushan told the media in Kaiserganj, where this news had spread even before the BJP officially confirmed it.

“Kya karein, dabdaba toh hai, woh toh Bhagwan ka diya hua hai (what can I do, the clout and political heft is God-gifted),” he said when local media persons asked him if the ticket for his son meant that he would continue to wield his clout.

“I thank the party. I am not bigger than it,” Brij Bhushan said in a subsequent reaction to the media.

His son Karan Bhushan told the media, “I am thankful to the party for giving me an opportunity to serve the masses.”

Even before BJP made the decision to pass the Kaiserganj baton from the father to the son, a viral video of Karan Bhushan seeking his father’s blessings had been interpreted as confirmation in the region that the ticket would stay in Brij Bhushan’s family.

This is the second time when Brij Bhushan’s a family member would be contesting instead of him. The first time was in 1996 when his wife Ketaki had contested and won the seat as Brij Bhushan wasn’t named a candidate since he was accused of sheltering terrorists, a charge from which he was subsequently exonerated. There is a sense that given his political heft in the region, his close association with the Ram temple movement as well as his bonding with the main opposition Samajwadi Party, the BJP could have found it difficult to ignore Brij Bhushan’s claim on the seat but he ultimately seemed to have agreed on a compromise that his younger son be named on the seat. His elder son Prateek is already the sitting BJP MLA from the Gonda (Sadar) assembly constituency.

Even as the delay in naming Kaiserganj had led to intense speculation, Brij Bhushan had remained apparently unmoved amid all the media scrutiny and continued to campaign.

“There was never any doubt as to who would contest from here. Now, this is official that Kaiserganj is going to stay with the family as the baton is rightly getting passed from the father to son,” said Dharmendra Singh, a Brij Bhushan loyalist in Kaiserganj. The Bahujan Samaj Party named its candidate, Narendra Pandey, on the seat earlier in the day while the Congress-backed Samajwadi Party candidate is still awaited.

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