Just days before Manipur goes to polls (on March 4), two Union ministers -- Kiren Rijiju and Jitendra Singh -- felicitated five Olympians from the state, along with two others from Tripura and Mizoram, as part of the government’s outreach to sportspersons from northeastern states.
Those felicitated included gymnast Dipa Karmakar from Tripura. The sportsperson were awarded Rs 2 lakh each for their performance at the Rio Olympics last year.
From Manipur, Indian women hockey team captain P Sushila Chanu, L Bombayla Devi (archery), K Chinglensan Singh and K Kothajit Singh (men’s hockey) and Saikhom Mirabai Chanu (weightlifting) were awarded. Women’s hockey team member H Lal Ruatfeli from Mizoram was also feted. Two others -- boxer Shiva Thapa (Assam) and T Anuradha Devi (hockey) could not make it to the function.
Rijiju strongly defended the move to honour the sportspersons from the northeast saying the event was planned six months ago and it has nothing to do with March 4 and 8 Assembly elections in Manipur.