BJP’s Asansol candidate Pawan Singh steps aside from Lok Sabha contest, TMC mocks decision


PTI, Mar 3, 2024, 7:54 PM IST

Bhojpuri singer-actor Pawan Singh withdrew from the Lok Sabha poll contest from the Asansol seat in West Bengal on Sunday, a day after the BJP named him as its candidate from the constituency currently represented by the TMC’s Shatrughan Sinha.

The Trinamool Congress (TMC) was quick to mock the BJP by saying it surrendered the seat even before the commencement of the election campaign.

In a post on X, Singh thanked the BJP leadership for his candidature but added that he would not be able to contest from Asansol “due to some reason”.

Though he did not specify the reason behind his decision, his candidature had drawn criticism from the TMC, the ruling party in West Bengal, which alleged that many of his songs were crude and depicted women, including those from the state, in a vulgar way.

TMC National General Secretary Abhishek Banerjee shared Singh’s post on X and said, “The INDOMITABLE SPIRIT AND POWER OF THE PEOPLE OF WEST BENGAL.” TMC leader Santanu Sen alleged that the BJP speaks about women empowerment but they are anti-women in reality.

“They are anti-women and anti-Bengali and that is why they had given nomination to him. But realising the people’s anger, they were forced to back out,” he said.

Asansol is home to a sizeable migrant population and the BJP had hoped that Singh would be an effective counter to Sinha, the actor-politician who was in the saffron party for decades before walking out in 2019.

The BJP apparently decided to nudge Singh to step aside from the contest to defuse the controversy, more so when the party has seized on the Sandeshkhali row to go after the TMC leadership.

Many women in Sandeshkhali have accused suspended TMC leader Shajahan Sheikh and his associates of sexual assault and land grab under coercion. Sheikh and many of his cronies have been arrested.

The BJP was soon to fire back at the TMC’s criticism over fielding Singh.

Amit Malviya, the BJP’s co-incharge for West Bengal, said, “TMC leaders are a bunch of jokers who have suddenly found their voice after keeping quiet for 60 days. The women raped in Sandeshkhali were Bengali, who Mamata Banerjee called ‘bohiragoto (outsiders)’. No one vilifies Bengali women more than her, as she continues to defend Sheikh Shajahan.”

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