Like My Father, I'll Be There For You: Brij Bhushan Singh's Son To Voters

Karan Bhushan Singh rejects the sexual harassment charges against his father and says they are "made up".

Like My Father, I'll Be There For You: Brij Bhushan Singh's Son To Voters

Karan Bhushan is contesting from the Kaiserganj constituency.

Gonda (Uttar Pradesh):

Karan Bhushan Singh, the BJP's Kaiserganj Lok Sabha candidate, brushes aside the sexual assault allegations levelled against his father Brij Bhushan Singh saying these are "political and made up" as he urges the people to bless him with their votes like they have "always done" to his family.

Karan Bhushan, 33, has been attending an average of 10 small public meetings every day in different parts of the constituency. Apart from the elderly and a handful of women, young men form a major chunk of the attendees at meetings.

"The plan is to reach out to the people of every village of the constituency before polling and appeal for their support," he said about the meetings.

He travels in a cavalcade of around 15 high-end SUVs.

"All of you have supported my family and have been with my father. I want you to continue your support and, like my father, I will always be there for you," he says at one such meeting held in Colonelganj area of Gonda.

This is Karan Bhushan Singh's first political battle. A law graduate, he was elected the chairman of the Uttar Pradesh wrestling federation last year. Known to be soft-spoken, Karan Bhushan touches the feet of almost everyone who approaches him.

"Apna ashirvad dete rahiyega (keep giving your blessings)," he says.

The family enjoys support, particularly among the upper castes in Gonda and nearby districts.

Brij Bhushan Singh, a six-time MP who has represented Gonda, Balrampur and Kaiserganj constituencies, was denied a ticket this time by the BJP. He had to step down as Wrestling Federation of India chief after the sexual harassment allegations by six women wrestlers.

Karan Bhushan's elder brother, Prateek Bhushan Singh, is a BJP MLA. His mother Ketki Devi Singh is a former MP from Gonda.

Karan Bhushan rejects the charges against his father, saying the "allegations are political and made up. We will challenge them in court".

On May 10, a Delhi court ordered framing of sexual harassment and other charges against Brij Bhushan in the case lodged by the six wrestlers, observing there was "sufficient evidence" against him.

Karan Bhushan, the youngest son of Brij Bhushan, also refutes allegations of nepotism, saying he wants to take forward the legacy of his father.

"Had I been in some other field and was parachuted here at the last moment, one could have levelled such allegations. I have been among the people and have campaigned for my father and brother. I was already into politics, it's just that I have been given a responsibility now by my party, for which I am thankful," he argued.

When asked about his plans for Kaiserganj, Karan Bhushan said, "A lot is to be done here, be it improving health facilities, ensuring better education for children and especially opening skill and sports centres for youngsters. I will try to do this in my tenure." 

On what his father has done about these issues, Karan Bhushan said, "My father has taken the area towards all-around development. I want to take his work forward on the path shown by him."

The Brij Bhushan family, which belongs to the Thakur community, has an influence over the region. There is a vast network of schools, college, and other business institutions owned by the family in Gonda and nearby districts.

Kaiserganj has over 17 lakh voters with a considerable number of Dalits and Muslims. In 2019, Brij Bhushan got 5.8 lakh votes, almost double the number polled by the BSP candidate pitted against him.

Karan Bhushan claims the victory margin this time will be bigger than in 2019.

"This time, my father is campaigning for me. My brother is campaigning for me. I have the blessings of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and the entire party. In such a situation, I believe I will win by a bigger margin," he claimed.

His father has already claimed that the victory margin will be the third largest in the state after Varanasi and Lucknow. PM Modi is contesting from Varanasi while Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is in the fray in Lucknow.

The Samajwadi Party, a constituent of the INDIA alliance has pitted Ram Bhagat Mishra against Karan Bhushan. The Bahujan Samaj Party has named Narendra Pandey from the seat.

Kaiserganj will go to the polls in the fifth phase on May 20. 

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)