Dehradun: Suspended BJP legislator from Khanpur, Kunwar Pranav Singh Champion has kept a private army called ‘Champion Force’ which travels with him during his personal and official journeys in and out of Uttarakhand.
In fact, their presence is marked by stickers of ‘Champion Force’ posted on the doors of rooms occupied by them. These stickers were also pasted in the rooms of Uttarakhand Sadan in New Delhi where Champion stayed with his entourage last month, and where the video of him dancing while holding assault guns and revolvers was allegedly shot.
The stickers have the insignia of the ‘Champion Force’ —guns, two muscled arms in an arm wrestling pose and an open book. A line below defines the ‘Champion Force’ as ‘Tough, Turgid and Tenacious.’
An employee of Uttarakhand Sadan who did not wish to be identified, told TOI, “Stickers of ‘Champion Force’ are regularly pasted on the doors of rooms where the legislator and his men stay. No one is allowed to do such things in a government building but there is no point arguing with them since they never listen.”
Sources said that there are around eight people in the ‘Champion Force’ all of whom have licenced weapons. They travel in five SUVs designated for them. Interestingly, the legislator after joining the BJP in 2016, had been granted CRPF security cover by the central government which he continues to enjoy till date.
When queried about his private army, Champion said, “It is ridiculous to view it like that. ‘Champion Force’ is a group of young persons devoted to social cause. And what’s the harm in pasting stickers? Our aim is to motivate the youth towards fitness, studies and work. You can see our emblem which has all these components.”
The BJP on Friday expelled its Uttarakhand MLA Pranav Singh Champion after a video showing him dancing with guns went viral on social media, causing embarrassment to the party.
Champion was earlier suspended for three months and the suspension was extended for an indefinite period on Thursday. A notice extending the period of suspension had been issued by state BJP general secretary Anil Goyal on the directions of party president Ajay Bhatt, Uttarakhand BJP media incharge Devendra Bhasin said in a tweet.
Champion, who is the Khanpur MLA, landed in a fresh trouble on Wednesday when a video showing him dancing with guns to a popular Bollywood number in front of his cheering supporters went viral on social media, leaving the party red faced.
Pradesh BJP president Ajay Bhatt and the incharge of the party affairs in Uttarakhand, Shyam Jaju, reacted sharply to Champion’s conduct, saying indiscipline could not be tolerated.
“The BJP is a party which does not compromise on principles. Indiscipline by anyone cannot be tolerated,” Bhatt had said as the video began doing the rounds on news channels on Wednesday.
Champion is no stranger to controversies. He was in the news a couple of months ago for publicly indulging in a war of words with Jhabreda BJP MLA Deshraj Karnawal and challenging him to a wrestling bout.
Another video had gone viral last month, in which he was seen threatening a journalist. Champion was one of the Congress MLAs who had rebelled against former CM Harish Rawat and crossed over to the BJP in 2016.
BJP state president Ajay Bhatt when asked about the party’s suspended MLA keeping a posse of private gunmen along with his state-provided security cover, said, “I cannot comment on this because keeping bodyguards for personal protection is an individual matter.” Meanwhile, the party state unit is waiting for the response to the notice issued to Champion before taking a final decision on his expulsion. “As of now, we have not received any response to the notice that was issued to Champion. We are a democratic party and we have given him a full chance to respond. Based on his response, we will take a final decision in the matter,” said Bhatt.