BJP Asansol candidate Pawan Singh withdraws from Lok Sabha race amid controversy | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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BJP Asansol candidate Pawan Singh withdraws from Lok Sabha race amid controversy

Mar 03, 2024 04:19 PM IST

The decision came hours after the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) targeted the BJP, saying several songs performed by Singh, who is a Bhojpuri actor and singer, made “lewd and uncivilised remarks about Bengali women”

Kolkata: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) suffered a setback in West Bengal on Sunday after its candidate Pawan Singh withdrew from the race for the Asansol Lok Sabha seat, less than 18 hours after the party released its first list of 20 candidates for the state’s 42 seats.

Bhojpuri singer and actor Pawan Singh (Twitter Photo)
Bhojpuri singer and actor Pawan Singh (Twitter Photo)

The decision came hours after the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) targeted the BJP, saying several songs performed by Singh, who is a Bhojpuri actor and singer, made “lewd and uncivilised remarks about Bengali women”.

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Singh took to X to announce his decision. “I express my heartfelt gratitude to the top leadership of Bharatiya Janata Party. The party trusted me and declared me the candidate from Asansol but due to some personal reason, I will not be able to contest the election from Asansol,” he wrote in Hindi on Sunday, tagging BJP national president J P Nadda.

Also Read: BJP fields two former chief ministers in Assam, Tripura for Lok Sabha polls

The Asansol seat is currently held by TMC’s Shatrughan Sinha, the actor-turned-politician who left the BJP after serving as Union minister in the then Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led government.

Babul Supriyo, TMC leader and the cabinet minister in Mamata Banerjee-led government, alleged in a post on social media that the BJP is anti-Bengali.

“Fielding Pawan Singh from Asansol shows their insensitivity against Bengali women. In terms of offending Bengali women & painting them in an utterly disrespectful light in Film titles & Songs, Pawanji (nothing against him as an Artist, I reiterate) projects Bengali Songs & Films is surely a repeat offender!! The first list in itself is the last nail on the coffin of BJP in Bengal,” he wrote on X.

Shortly after Singh’s withdrawal announcement, Abhishek Banerjee, TMC national general secretary took to X and wrote, “The INDOMITABLE SPIRIT AND POWER OF THE PEOPLE OF WEST BENGAL.”

Also Read: Lok Sabha polls 2024: BJP shares revised list of candidates for Assam. Know why

Bengal BJP leaders refused to comment saying the party’s central leadership would speak on the issue.

Agnimitra Paul, the BJP legislator from the Asansol South assembly seat said, “I don’t know why Pawan Singh took such a decision citing personal reasons.”

TMC Rajya Sabha MP Sagarika Ghose took a jibe at the BJP over Singh’s candidature saying, “The “nari shakti” call in Bengal now lies in tatters, revealed for what it is – hollow & meaningless”.

The TMC is yet to announce its candidate from Asansol.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Supriyo won the Asansol seat on a BJP ticket, defeating TMC’s Moon Moon Sen. Two years later, he resigned from the seat and joined the TMC and Sinha was elected to the Lok Sabha from Asansol.

The presence of a large number of Hindi and Bhojpuri-speaking people is a characteristic feature of the Asansol Lok Sabha segment where industries and coal mines employ both residents and a migrant workforce.

The BJP on Saturday announced the first list of 195 candidates for the upcoming general elections, naming 20 candidates out of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal. According to party officials aware of the development, the BJP has accepted Singh’s decision shared a revised first list for West Bengal around 3pm Sunday, deleting the Asansol seat.

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