Various US newspapers viewed the BJP's resounding victories in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Rajasthan as an expansion of its dominance in a crucial region before the upcoming general elections
Not for nothing is politics described as the art of the possible: twists and turns in a story finally lead to the box-office climax when all knotty entanglements that rise transiently above human IQ to paint a gloomy forecast, fall away with clockwork precision. So the Bharatiya Janata Party is now much better placed for its own comfort than at the height of the women wrestlers’ MeToo movement in the country’s capital when confrontations gave the impression of the party trying to defend the indefensible in shielding Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh from the law catching up with him. Look at things now.
You have the Bajrang Punia-Vinesh Phogat-Sakshi Malik trio, the faces that set the movement going, in allegedly distant camps, the third combatant probably quite correctly resentful of the duo “wangling” Asian Games selection concessions. Neither Singh nor the flunkeys he might have bunged in if he got his way will be in the Wrestling Federation of India and adding to the BJP’s parliamentary strength and the everyday torrent of criticism in globally famous newspapers is over for now.
Stonewalling the wrestlers’ agitation, depriving them of water and electricity where the protest was taking place and police dragging them across the street to be bundled into prison vans and sweeping them out of Jantar Mantar were not exactly vignettes of public entertainment. But then, all of it might haunt the Indian ruling class when, later this year, the country hosts in Mumbai its first International Olympic Committee session where as big a decision as Russia’s participation in the 2024 Summer Games could be announced. It will be a major surprise if European, and especially Scandinavian, members of the IOC do not ask PT Usha, Indian Olympic Association chief, how all that befell the women wrestlers came to be put up with in a milieu of a near-total official-level silence. There is absolutely no doubt that, coming so soon after the Larry Nassar scandal in the USA, when a swift and ruthless punishment against the serial offender was felt to have set an exemplary benchmark, New Delhi’s MeToo movement threw a light on everything which Indian officialdom got wrong. BJP loyalists, stressing the all-clear note hoping that is where the story ends, are known to have said in New Delhi that the Centre never really jettisoned Singh though.
The Pocso case was withdrawn, which implied he stayed out of the jail; the cases he now finds himself enmeshed in will carry on ad nauseum and, having ruled the WFI for so long, he was a lame duck this time around anyway. The ones from the IOC may have kept an eye peeled for the Mumbai confabulations to take a fresh look at the New Delhi agitation. There are just too many questions.