Last Updated: January 20, 2023, 15:16 IST
Wrestling Federation of India Chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh has refused to resign despite the heat on him and has given a political twist to the matter, saying the protesting players have been instigated by Haryana Congress leader Deepender Hooda.
Singh told News18 that it was a “political conspiracy” against him by the former Haryana Wrestling Association chief and Congress MP Deepender Hooda. Singh has asked why only a small section of Haryana players are the ones protesting against him and said the target was in fact the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Hooda, however, said the protest is apolitical and called it “desperate tactic” on part of Singh.
Hooda has, however, added that he is standing firmly with the cause of the wrestlers and has demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe monitored by the Supreme Court in the matter. Hooda said the players on protest and lodging serious allegations are “national players who won laurels for the country at Olympics, CWG and Asian Games” and should not be seen just as players from Haryana.
The Singh camp is terming it as a ‘Haryana vs Others’ fight for control of the wrestling federation, citing the demand of the players to disband the wrestling federation. Singh had defeated Hooda in the election for the president of the Wrestling Federation in 2012 and the two have a host of differences since. Singh said Hooda’s statements on Thursday prove his involvement.
A source close to Singh said he has been trying to promote wrestlers from across India, which has not pleased the ‘Haryana camp’. Hooda at his press conference on Thursday pointed out that over half of the medals won by India in recent Olympics had been by wrestlers from Haryana and they had in fact prospered under his reign as President of the Haryana Wrestling Association.
Hooda has been at the forefront of the protest against Haryana Sports Minister Sandeep Singh as well who was booked last month on sexual harassment complaint of another athlete. Hooda said the BJP government in Haryana had come to Sandeep Singh’s defence even without any inquiry. Sandeep Singh was an Olympic hockey player and he also alleged a political conspiracy against him.
Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, meanwhile, said he was an elected president of the Wrestling Federation of India and won’t resign after being painted as a villain.
He has pointed out that there was no complaint against him for a decade and suddenly the Haryana players has come up with allegations, also declaring they will not be part of trials but go straight for international competitions.
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