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Haryana BJP leaders admit party silence on wrestlers ringing too loud

Protests during public outreach programs have put Chief Minister Khattar in a difficult position, while the Opposition sees an opportunity to gain support from the wrestlers, who are native to Haryana. The standoff between the wrestlers and the central government has created unease within the Haryana BJP, particularly as the Lok Sabha and Haryana Assembly elections approach.

While most state leaders have refrained from openly supporting the wrestlers’ struggle for justice, a few have voiced their support. Sakshi Malik, Vinesh Phogat, and Bajrang Punia, all hailing from Haryana, have been at the forefront of the protests for over four months. Chief Minister Khattar has faced disruptions and protests during his Jan Samvad programs, causing further concern within the BJP.

The wrestlers have garnered support from powerful farmers’ unions in the state, who are considering a mass protest against BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, also the chief of Wrestling Federation of India. The Congress party, recognizing the potential of the wrestlers’ protest, has thrown its weight behind them, leveraging their strong support base among the Jat community.

The AINC and the Aam Aadmi Party have also expressed support for the wrestlers. Despite growing support and serious allegations against Brij Bhushan, the Haryana BJP leadership has not responded thus far, except for a few exceptions such as Home Minister Anil Vij and Hisar MP Brijendra Singh.

The wrestlers had sought Chief Minister Khattar’s support, but he distanced himself from the issue, stating that it falls under the jurisdiction of the players’ teams and the central government. Former Union minister Birender Singh expressed his concerns to BJP president J P Nadda, highlighting the party’s credibility being at stake.

Singh urged Nadda to intervene and address the issue promptly, emphasizing the need to listen to the wrestlers’ voices. He also called for reforms in the governance of sports federations, which often involve politicians, industrialists, and bureaucrats. Haryana BJP president Om Prakash Dhankar raised the issue with Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur, emphasizing the wrestlers’ right to justice.

However, some BJP leaders acknowledged that remaining silent on the matter could have negative consequences, emphasizing the importance of understanding ground realities and reaching a timely resolution.

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