Jaipur: The Congress-ruled Rajasthan government has asked sportspersons to give affidavits, saying they have no link to either the RSS, which is the BJP's ideological mentor, or Jamaat-e-Islami Hind to qualify for the state's sports awards.
According to reports, weightlifter Vishal Singh was awarded Rs 2 lakh at a recent state sports awards function, but only after he gave an undertaking that he doesn't have any connection to either of the political parties.
The Rajasthan sports council says that it is only following the guidelines of the state government. Sports Minister Mangilal Garasiya claims that the rule has been there from 1986 and the government is implementing it now.
"The BJP hardly gave money to sports people but we have increased the aid tenfold. We are giving sports people money; so obviously we have to follow rules when giving out money," Mr Garasiya told NDTV today.
With state polls scheduled in Rajasthan later this year, the controversy has signs of turning into a huge political storm. The RSS has already begun protests in the state with party cadres holding a demonstration yesterday.
RSS spokesperson Ram Madhav told NDTV, "This is a blatantly illegal order. The government or the sports council has no right to ask sportspersons to sign any such affidavit because the organisations named there are neither banned nor involved in any wrongful activity."
"We are also contemplating legal action against the sports council. Sports council is an autonomous body. It has no binding to follow illegal diktat of the government" he added.
Jamaat-e-Islami's national secretary Salim Engineer said, "Clubbing together us with the RSS, when we are doing exactly opposite activities, is highly ridiculous. This is destroying the secular credentials of the Congress."
The BJP, which was ousted from the state in the 2008 elections, too slammed the move with former Sports Minister Yunus Khan, saying, "There should not be this kind of politics with the sportspersons."