The Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday expelled Bhojpuri singer-turned-politician Pawan Singh for contesting the Lok Sabha elections as an independent candidate against National Democratic Alliance’s Upendra Kushwaha from Bihar’s Karakat seat, ANI reported.

In a letter, BJP’s Bihar in-charge Arvind Sharma said that Singh had committed “anti-party activity”. “The party’s image has been maligned and you did this work against party’s discipline,” wrote Sharma.

The Hindu quoted state BJP president and Deputy Chief Minister Samrat Choudhary as saying: “It is natural that if someone contests an election against the party’s official nominee, such actions are taken at the party level.”

On the other hand, the Congress called Singh’s expulsion “just a gimmick”. “From what I gather from the grassroots is that BJP cadre on ground are working en masse for Pawan Singh and ensuring defeat of BJP's ally Upendra Kushwaha,” said Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi in a social media post.

On March 2, the BJP named Singh as its candidate from West Bengal’s Asansol constituency in its first list of candidates for the Lok Sabha elections. However, the next day, he announced that he would not contest the polls.

Singh, who hails from Arrah in Bihar’s Bhojpur district, had not specified the reason for backing out.

However, his announcement had come after leaders of West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress party criticised his songs and music videos for being derogatory towards women in the state.

On March 13, however, Singh made a U-turn and announced that he would fight the elections. He later filed his nomination papers from the Karakat seat as an independent candidate to fulfil his “mother’s wish”, reported The Hindu.

Polling in the Karakat constituency will take place in the seventh phase on June 1.

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