Haryana’s Sports Minister Anil Vij on Monday said that if he had the power to donate more money to the Dera Sacha Sauda for sports-related activities, then he would have done so. His statement came after he courted controversy for donating Rs 50 lakh from his discretionary fund to the Dera Sacha Sauda organisation, headed by controversial Sikh leader Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, for promoting sports in Haryana.
“In the last National Games which were held in Kerala, children of the Dera Sacha Sauda won many medals. To promote them, the organisation is making a games village inside its campus, where they are planning to make number of stadiums as per international standards.
For the growth and promotion of games, I can only contribute this much, If I had power to donate more, then I would have done so,” Vij told media.
While attending the “Tiranga Rumal Chhu” program in Sirsa, Vij said “Your organisation is encouraging sports and athletes, hence, in order to promote sports further, I would like to give Rs 50 lakh which is from my discretionary fund.” The minister said the prime objective of his donation was to promote sports in Haryana. He had earlier faced criticism when he visited Rio to encourage players from Haryana who were taking part in the Olympics.
The Haryana Government spokesperson Jawahar Yadav targeted the opposition for raking up controversy over the donation using illogical reasoning. “When we were in the opposition, the issues were corruption, unemployment and uneven development, which have now evaporated. In the absence of issues, the opposition is resorting to illogical reasoning to create an issue,” Yadav told media.
Clearing the air over Vij’s donation, he said, “Anil Vij attended a sports competition event organised by Dera Sacha Sauda chief Ram Rahim, and donated money to encourage sports, for the construction of a stadium and a sports academy.”
“He did not make the payment from the funds of the sports department, but from his Member of Legislative Assembly Local Area Development Scheme (MLALADS) fund, which MLAs give for solemnising the marriage of poor people, for the construction of rest houses, roads, stadiums etc. Under MLALADS quota, all ministers give money, and Vij has given it too.”
He further stated that all those games that enhance your physical, mental and knowledge level could be organised. “It is not necessary that it is Olympics. There are many such games in India. Besides, every state has a culture of its own,” he added.
Stressing on the need for creating better sports infrastructure for athletes of the state, Vij said the Haryana Government is mulling to table a Sports Council Bill in the upcoming assembly session. “This session, we are planning to table a Sports Council Bill.
It would be statutory body. Under the bill a Sports Council will be constituted at different levels, i.e. district and sub-divisional levels, which will focus on sports related matters,” he added.