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Singer Pawan Singh, BJP's candidate for Asansol, withdraws his candidacy due to backlash over his controversial music

Less than eighteen hours after the party unveiled its initial list of twenty candidates for the state's forty-two seats, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) suffered a blow in West Bengal on Sunday when their candidate, Pawan Singh, withdrew from the contest for the Asansol Lok Sabha seat.

The governing Trinamool Congress (TMC) attacked the BJP hours earlier, claiming that singer and actor Singh, from Bhojpur, had made "lewd and uncivilized remarks about Bengali women" in several songs.

Singh made his announcement about his choice on X. "I extend my sincere appreciation to the Bharatiya Janata Party's upper echelon.” He tagged BJP national president J P Nadda in a Sunday Hindi message that said, "The party trusted me and declared me the candidate from Asansol but due to some personal reason, I will not be able to contest the election from Asansol." 

Given that the BJP has targeted TMC officials with the Sandeshkhali incident, it appears that the party encouraged Singh to drop out of the race to avoid more controversy.


Shatrughan Sinha, a politician from the TMC who defected from the BJP after holding a ministerial position in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led government at the time, presently holds the Asansol constituency.

In a social media post, TMC leader and cabinet minister Babul Supriyo said that  BJP was “anti-Bengali.” "Asansol's fielding Pawan Singh demonstrates their insensitivity towards Bengali women. When it comes to disrespecting and insulting Bengali women in movie titles and song lyrics, Pawanji—I want to emphasize that this is in no way an attack on him as an artist—projects Bengali songs and movies and is undoubtedly a repeat offender! The first list is the final nail in the coffin of the BJP in Bengal,” he remarked on X.  

TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee posted on X shortly after Singh announced his withdrawal. He wrote "The Indomitable Spirit and Power of the People of West Bengal" in the tweet. 

Leaders of the Bengal BJP have declined to comment on the matter, stating that the party's central leadership will address the matter.

TMC Rajya Sabha MP Sagarika Ghose expressed mockery towards the BJP following Singh's nomination, saying, "The 'nari shakti' call in Bengal now lies in tatters, revealed for what it is – hollow & meaningless."

The TMC has not yet disclosed the identity of their Asansol contender.

Out of the 42 Lok Sabha constituencies in West Bengal, the BJP named 20 candidates on its initial list of 195 candidates for the 2018 general elections. The BJP has reportedly accepted Singh's decision and issued a revised initial list for West Bengal at 3 p.m. on Sunday, eliminating the Asansol seat, according to party insiders informed of the development.


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