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Political medlling in sports in HP too

Its all political meddling with sports in the hill state of Himachal too. Out of total 40 Sports Associations recognized by the Himachal Sports department, 26 are in the hands of mainstream politicians of the two political parties, Congress and BJP, in Himachal.

india Updated: May 04, 2010 19:55 IST
Ravinder Vasudeva

Its all political meddling with sports in the hill state of Himachal too.

Out of total 40 Sports Associations recognized by the Himachal Sports department, 26 are in the hands of mainstream politicians of the two political parties, Congress and BJP, in Himachal.

There are however some Associations, which are being run by politicians with known sports background.

Interestingly, the politicians of ruling party in the state, day by day by day by day, are grabbing the Associations, which are being run by the former sportspersons.

From BJP side, Member of Parliament from Hamirpur, Anurag Thakur is heading Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) and Judo. Anurag has however been a former cricketer.

Forest Minister J.P. Nadda is ruling the roost in Basketball, Swimming, Archery and Shooting Associations. Nadda though claims to have participated in national swimming championship during studies in Bihar.

Transport Minister in the BJP government, Mahender Singh is heading State Wrestling Association, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Virender Kanwar is the President of State Volleyball Association (though there was some dispute in the Volleyball body, but that too was amongst the BJP and Cong politicians).

Chief Minister's younger son, Arun Dhumal is the President of Adhoc body of the Recently, an Officer on Special Duty (OSD) to Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, Sanjeev Katwal, was given the post of President Football Association. Horticulture Minister Narinder Bragta is heading State Throw Ball Association while BJP leader from Mandi constituency; D.D. Thakur is leading the Wu-Shu Association.

Same with Congress party.

Leader of opposition in the state assembly, Vidya Stokes is Himachal Hockey (she is presently the adhoc president of Hockey India). She claims to have much interest in hockey since 60s, when she was even instrumental in motivating HP girls form a hockey team.

Former forest minister Ram Lal Thakur is heading the Kabaddi Association. Ram Lal, though, was a prominent wrestler and a kabbadi player.

Former member of parliament and Congress MLA from Mandi, Anil Thakur is the President of Athletics body of Himachal. Former minister Asha Kumari is heading Women Cricket Association. The command of Women Football Association is in the hands of former minister, Chandresh Kumari, who is now Jodhpur MP.

Further, former MLA, Yogender Chandra is heading State Boxing Federation.

According to records, six Sports Associations in the state are in the hands of former or currently serving IAS officers.

And about half the Associations are being ruled by the persons for more than a period of ten years, though many of them have failed to show any remarkable achievement.

"Politics and sports don't go hand in hand.

Throughout my career as a sports person I have witnessed so many incidents, wherein the careers of the sportspersons were ruined because of politician sports administrators. Politicians always have political pressures and they cannot ignore it in sports also," said Gaurav Bhardwaj, former state level football player, now working as a coach.

Ahoc President, Hockey India, Vidya Stokes, however, said "I don't think there should be any problem in politicians ruling the Sports Association. Politicians can use their stature to get sponsorships and other administrative things done.

But a politician running the Sports Association must have keen interest in the game, and they should not play politics with the sports and sportsmen,'' she said.

A general feeling among the sportsmen in the state is that the politicians could be taken on honorary posts to help the Association manage affairs, but when the political Presidents of Sports Bodies start selecting the players for state and national championships, they have their own pulls and pressures. "It sometimes wreaks havoc with the sports," they said.