WFI chief showers praise on Akhilesh Yadav for not siding with protesting wrestlers

WFI chief showers praise on Akhilesh Yadav for not siding with protesting wrestlers

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

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 lent their support to the protesting wrestlers. The Delhi Police had on Friday registered two FIRs against 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.

Also read: Wrestlers’ protest: Kapil Sibal raises question of ‘pliant investigation’

Talking to PTI at Gonda in UP, 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.

‘Ready to resign’

Singh, who has remained adamant on 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.

Also read: Wrestlers allege ‘torture’, say no food, water at protest site; Kejriwal extends support

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 Saturday 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.

(With Agency inputs)

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