Haryana sports minister Anil Vij draws ire for donating Rs 50 lakh to Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh

Haryana Health and Sports Minister Anil Vij is familiar with being in the headlines for the wrong reasons these days. The minister faced criticism for declaring that he was in the Rio Olympics to focus on the Haryana players. To add to the list of his mis-steps, the minister stirred up a storm after he donated Rs 50 lakh to contentious Dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh on Sunday.

Reacting to Vij’s donation, Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said on Sunday, "I haven't seen all angles of this story. All political parties are on the side of money being donated to encourage sports. Anil Vij has to consider his decision about attachment to people…He is in a responsible political and constitutional position. He has to take a decision about this behaviour. If he doesn't take any decision then people of Haryana will have to act."

Vij announced the donation at Dera Sacha Sauda in the Tiranga Rumal Chhu program at Sirsa district on Saturday after he witnessed a sporting event, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was also present at the event.

Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh came into the limelight after the release of his movie MSG: The Messenger got released last year. Comedian Kiku Sharda's arrest for allegedly hurting the sentiments of the Gurmeet’s followers added to his infamy.

"It is a very good thing. Along with religion, education and games are there, that means they are trying to prepare a complete human being," Vij said about the activities at the Dera Sacha Sauda Stadium. "He is encouraging the games. Since the schools are also encouraging games here, I would like to donate Rs 50 Lakh from my discretionary fund," he added. The leader defended his actions by asserting that he is the maalik or the owner of the fund and that the work being done in the stadium is a step in the right direction to promote sports.

It is worth noting that the games played inside the academy are created by Gurmeet Ram Rahim himself and are not played at national or international level. But according to the leader this "combo of games" fits the present trend.

Vij also mentioned that the Haryana Government is planning to table a Sports Council Bill in the upcoming assembly session. The statutory body would foster infrastructure for sports training in the state.

He also defended his actions in the Olympics, stating that a meeting was convened with every opposition party and that the parties were indulging in double talk against him. The trip cost the government Rs 1 crore.

Ahead of assembly polls in Haryana, the Dera had extended support to the BJP. Vij said, "Dera Sacha Sauda is already promoting sports for a long time and now BJP government will promote all sports related activities by making 20 Olympic Nurseries. In each Haryana district about 400 Nurseries (subsidiaries) will be set up", he said. "These Nurseries will provide many athletes for next Olympics", he added.

With inputs from agencies. 

Firstpost is now on WhatsApp. For the latest analysis, commentary and news updates, sign up for our WhatsApp services. Just go to Firstpost.com/Whatsapp and hit the Subscribe button.

Updated Date: Aug 28, 2016 19:27:34 IST

Also See