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Pak's daughter-in-law Sania not fit to represent Telangana: BJP leader

K Laxman, leader of the BJP in Telangana assembly, questioned the choice of Mirza, who is married to Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik, saying she was not 'local' enough and that she was the 'daughter-in-law of Pakistan'. 'Region, not religion, to blame

sports Updated: Jul 25, 2014 08:33 IST
Prasad Nichenametla
Prasad Nichenametla
Hindustan Times

A BJP leader from Telangana has objected to tennis star Sania Mirza’s appointment as brand ambassador of the newly created state and called her a “daughter-in-law of Pakistan”, stirring an unsavoury debate about a growing culture of intolerance in India.

Read:'Region, not religion, to blame

Dr K Laxman’s statement, made Wednesday, drew a sharp response from the 27-year-old Grand Slam-winner, who is married to Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik. “I am married to Mr Shoaib Malik, who is from Pakistan. I am an Indian who will remain an Indian until the end of my life,” she said Thursday.

Read:Hyderabadi community in Pakistan defends Sania

This comes as fresh embarrassment to the Narendra Modi government, already smarting from the uproar over 11 MPs of the Shiv Sena, a BJP ally, trying to forcibly feed a fasting Muslim employee of Maharashtra Sadan in Delhi. The party quickly distanced itself from Laxman’s remarks, prompting the cornered leader to make what seemed to be a U-turn as he told HT Mirza’s marriage to a Pakistani was not the issue.

Read: Dear Laxman, who are you to draw the rekha for Sania Mirza?

Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhara Rao had Tuesday named Mirza a state icon and presented her with a cheque for `1 crore. A day later, Laxman, the BJP’s floor leader in the assembly, said, “KCR has set a cut-off of 1956 to decide the domicile of students for the fee reimbursement scheme but he makes an exception for a Pakistani daughter-in-law who was born in Mumbai in 1986 and bred in Hyderabad.”

Read:Sania’s appointment an effort to appease Muslim voters: BJP

In a series of tweets, Mirza hit back: “I was born in Mumbai as my mother needed to be in a specialist hospital since she was seriously unwell at the time of my birth.”

Read:Row over Sania Mirza as Telangana brand ambassador: the real reasons

First Published: Jul 24, 2014 02:12 IST