Today (21 December), a trusted associate of Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, a BJP MP and member of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) who recently faced sexual harassment accusations, was elected as the new head of the national wrestling organization.
In a resounding triumph, Sanjay Singh secured 40 out of 47 votes, defeating Anita Sheoran, a Commonwealth Games gold medallist. Sheoran had the backing of prominent wrestlers who had previously protested over allegations of sexual harassment against Brij Bhushan Singh.
In a notable turn of events, Mohan Yadav, the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh who was vying for the vice-president position, was unsuccessful in the election.
In addition to the paramount position of president, elections were conducted to occupy roles such as a senior vice-president, four vice-presidents, a secretary general, a treasurer, two joint secretaries, and five executive members.
Prominent wrestlers Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik, and Vinesh Phogat, who spearheaded the protest against Singh, were assured that no relatives or associates of his would be permitted to run in the elections.
Consequently, Brij Bhushan's son, Prateek, and son-in-law, Vishal Singh, refrained from participating in the electoral race. However, the nomination of his assistant, Sanjay Singh, was approved.
Previously, Sanjay Singh and his team had asserted that they had garnered the backing of wrestling federations from the majority of states. He had mentioned that the wrestling community is well aware of who has contributed to the advancement of the sport and will consider this when voting. "I am securing a victory in this election," he had confidently stated to NDTV.
The procedure for the WFI election was initiated in July, however, ongoing court cases caused continuous postponements. As a result, the international wrestling body decided to suspend WFI. Recently, the Supreme Court lifted a stay that had been imposed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, paving the way for the elections.
Nishtha Anushree is Senior Sub-editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @nishthaanushree.
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