West Bengal: BJP's Pawan Singh pulls out of elections, TMC mocks decision

Bhojpuri singer-actor Pawan Singh withdrew from the contest on Sunday amidst objections from the TMC to his candidature

Pawan Singh (centre) with Bihar CM Nitish Kumar (photo: @PawanSingh909/X)
Pawan Singh (centre) with Bihar CM Nitish Kumar (photo: @PawanSingh909/X)

NH Political Bureau

A day after the BJP named him as its Lok Sabha candidate from Asansol constituency in West Bengal currently represented by Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP and actor Shatrughan Sinha, Bhojpuri singer-actor Pawan Singh withdrew his name from the contest on Sunday.

The TMC was quick to mock the BJP, saying it had surrendered the seat even before the election campaign had begun.

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 party in power in West Bengal, which alleged that many of Singh's 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 in reality they are anti-women. "They are anti-women and anti-Bengali, and that is why they had given a nomination to him. But realising people's anger, they were forced to back out," he said.

Asansol is home to a sizeable non-Bengali speaking 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.

Quite a few women in Sandeshkhali have accused suspended TMC strongman Shahjahan Sheikh and his associates of sexual assault and land grabbing. Sheikh and many of his cronies have since been arrested.

On Saturday, sitting at the other end of the country in Delhi, cricketer-politician Gautam Gambhir requested BJP national president J.P. Nadda to relieve him of political duties so that he can focus on his cricketing commitments.

It was also reported in the media that, hours after Gambhir's announcement, BJP MP Jayant Sinha had also asked the party to relieve him of electoral duties, indicating that he did not want an active role or a ticket for the Lok Sabha elections. According to some reports, both MPs chose to step away from election duty knowing they would not feature in the list of party candidates.

With PTI inputs

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