BJP’s Pawan Singh withdraws candidacy from Asansol amid backlash

According to the sources, the BJP anticipated potential harm to its prospects in Asansol and decided to drop Singh.

| Updated: 03 March, 2024 6:22 pm IST

NEW DELHI: Bhojpuri actor-singer Pawan Singh, nominated by the BJP for the Asansol Lok Sabha seat in West Bengal, announced his withdrawal from the election, citing unspecified reasons. The controversial choice sparked criticism due to Singh’s discography, featuring songs with objectionable references to Bengali women. According to the sources, the BJP anticipated potential harm to its prospects in Asansol and decided to drop Singh.

Trinamool Congress leaders quickly responded, with Abhishek Banerjee attributing the withdrawal to the “indomitable spirit and power of the people of West Bengal.” Singh expressed gratitude to the BJP leadership for the nomination. In a tweet in Hindi, Pawan Singh conveyed his decision not to contest the election from Asansol despite the BJP’s trust in him. Expressing gratitude to the BJP leadership, Singh wrote on X, “The party trusted me and declared me as the candidate from Asansol but due to some reason I will not be able to contest the elections from Asansol.”

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The party’s surprise inclusion of Singh in its first list of candidates for the Lok Sabha polls stirred controversy, especially considering Singh’s controversial discography and the potential backlash on social media. This comes after Singh’s first reaction to getting a ticket went viral on social media, where he is seen excited while watching a Press Conference in the gym when his name was announced.

Singh, in two separate posts one thanking the BJP for nominating him and the other accusing the Trinamool Congress (TMC) government of not implementing the Narendra Modi government’s schemes, had reacted to his election from Asansol after the announcement. The seat, currently held by TMC’s Shatrughan Sinha, has seen political shifts, including the resignation of former BJP MP Babul Supriyo, who joined the Trinamool Congress. Trinamool Congress leaders seized the moment to criticise the BJP’s candidate selection, linking it to an alleged disregard for Bengali women.

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Babul Supriyo, commenting on Singh’s films and songs, highlighted concerns over their portrayal of women. The TMC portrayed the BJP’s move as a surrender of one seat even before the elections were declared, emphasising the alleged insensitivity of the BJP toward Bengali women. “Asansol ko Pawan Singh ji Mubarak ho 🙏 @BJP4Bengal … I have not verified it personally nor will verify them but I am flooded with posters of these films… Nothing against Pawanji the artist, but if these posters are true, then they clearly show what kind of respect @BJP4India has for Bengal & specially for women from Bengal • Sure Honble PM sir will come to Polo Ground to campaign for him.. @AITCofficial @ShatruganSinha @derekobrienmp,” former Union Minister and Asansol MP Babul Supriyo said in an X post.

 

The BJP’s first list featured other notable candidates for West Bengal, including Sukanta Majumdar, the state unit president, and union ministers Nisith Pramanik and Shantanu Thakur. Trinamool’s Rajya Sabha MP-elect, Sagarika Ghose, reacting to Singh’s withdrawal, said the BJP’s Nari Shakti call in West Bengal is hollow and meaningless. “Breaking news. Trinamool Congress impact! BJP India’s Asansol candidate withdraws after huge backlash on the candidate’s sexist misogynist videos. The BJP’s ‘nari shakti’ call in Bengal now lies in tatters, revealed for what it is–hollow & meaningless,” she wrote on X.

The unexpected inclusion of Pawan Singh aimed at garnering support from Hindi-speaking voters in the coal mine belt of Asansol, following the seat’s recent representation by non-political celebrities.

 

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