Outgoing WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, currently fighting sexual harassment charges levelled by women wrestlers, and renowned grappler Vinesh Phogat on Saturday blamed each other for the national federation's suspension by United World Wrestling (UWW) on account of not holding elections within 45 days.
The WFI elections were supposed to be held on August 12 but the Punjab and Haryana High Court stayed the polls, acting on a petition filed by Haryana Wrestling Association (HWA). On Thursday, United World Wrestling (UWW) suspended WFI as a result of which Indian grapplers won't be able to compete at next month's World Championship under national flag.
It was on Friday that double world championship medallist Vinesh, who spearheaded a sit-on protest at Jantar Mantar for more than one month demanding Brij Bhushan's arrest, took to 'X', formerly Twitter, to accuse the outgoing WFI chief for bringing ignominy to the national federation. She also called him a "mafia".
"If one makes correct assessment of the loss of reputation of the WFI due to Bri Bhushan, he will be completely exposed. The national tri-colour hs been shamed by a mafia," Vinesh wrote on her social media page.
On Saturday, Brij Bhushan, the BJP MP from UP's Kaisarganj, hurled counter-accusations on Vinesh and her fellow protesters Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia for the suspension of WFI.
Brij Bushan Singh slams protesters:
"These 'dharnaa jeevi' (protesting) players are responsible for WFI suspension. They are the ones who mocked wrestling and wrestlers of the country," he said during a media conference at his hometown.
"Today, the situation is very sad, as for the first time, India has been banned by the UWW since elections could not be conducted. If this problem is not resolved at the earliest, then there will be major loss for India. No wrestler under the banner of India could contest in the Olympics and World Championship," he said.
Brij Bhushan Singh accuses Haryana federation of obstructing the election procedure:
Brij Bhushan also accused Haryana federation for trying to put a spanner on the election procedure.
"Get the voting done in Haryana today itself, and then see who supports whom. I had tried to hold the elections in January, but do you know what all allegations were levelled at me? After this, the government told me to stay away from wrestling for some days. Again after this, for four times, I tried to conduct the elections, but every time, there was some obstruction or the other."
The UWW, meanwhile, has suspended WFI only temporarily.
(We are on WhatsApp. To get latest news updates, Join our Channel. Click here)