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HindustanTimes Fri,26 Dec 2014

Milkha’s family join AAP, but says no to politics

PTI, PTI  Chandigarh, January 11, 2014
First Published: 18:37 IST(11/1/2014) | Last Updated: 18:44 IST(11/1/2014)

Legendary athlete Milkha Singh’s wife, Nirmal Kaur, and their US-based daughter have joined the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), but the Flying Sikh wants to stay away from politics.

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Nirmal Kaur, also a yesteryear sportsperson, and her daughter Mona Singh have filled the membership form of Arvind Kejriwal's party and Singh says he respects their decision.

“Yes, they joined the AAP and filled the form yesterday. Both have said that they were impressed with the aims and objectives of the party and with Arvind Kejriwal’s work,” Milkha said.

When asked if he too was contemplating joining the AAP or any other party, Milkha, who represented the country in three Olympics and won four gold medals in the Asian Games in 1958 and 1962, said if he wanted, “I could have joined politics during Nehru’s or Indira Gandhi’s time. I stay away from these things," he said.

He said both are mature and even his daughter, nearing 50 years, took her own decisions. “I can't stop them,” he added.

Singh’s daughter is a doctor based in the United States, but regularly visits India to meet the family here.
He may be staying away from politics, but Milkha again said that iconic Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar should be appointed sports minister of the country as he understands the problems faced by sportsperson and can raise the overall standard.

“Tendulkar should be made the sports minister. He has full knowledge about sports and it can be of immense help in lifting the standard of sports in the country. If he becomes the minister, the standard of sports will definitely go up,” Singh, who missed out on a bronze in the 400m race in 1960 Rome Olympics by a whisker, said.

The Flying Sikh said that over the years, his fight has been with the government to acknowledge the contributions made by the sportspersons.

“Why can't sportspersons such as Tendulkar or PT Usha be appointed as governors and ambassadors? If politicians or retired bureaucrats could be appointed as governors and ambassadors, why can’t sportspersons be considered for such posts?” Milkha asked.

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