Haryana Health and Sports Minister Anil Vij has been making news, for all the wrong reasons. First, he led a nine-member delegation to Rio, which cost the state exchequer Rs 1 crore.
While he said his contingent was "to encourage the Haryana players", the delegation spent most of the time in its beach hotel and exploring the city and missing most India events.
Now, Vij has kicked up another row after he donated Rs 50 lakh from his discretionary fund to a Haryana-based spiritual organization Dera Sacha Sauda. The organization is headed by Saint Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.
Earlier this month, the organization had launched its own sports league - the Tiranga Rumal Chhoo.
After a lot of criticism from the opposition politicians, Vij defended himself.
"The Rs. 50 lakh, which I decided to donate to the organization, is from my discretionary fund. I am the owner of this fund. Lots of works are being done for sports and in order to promote sports further," he told ANI.
Reacting to the announcement of Rs 50 lakh donation to Dera Sacha Sauda by Vij yesterday, Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala today said, "Anil Vij has to consider his decision about attachment to people. He is in a responsible political and constitutional position. He has to take a decision about this behaviour. If he doesn't take any decision then people of Haryana will have to act."
The donation was announced by Vij at Dera Sacha Sauda in Sirsa district on Sunday after he witnessed a game of Tiranga Rumal Chhoo.
Dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was also present there.
"It is a very good thing. Along with religion, education and games are there, that means they are trying to prepare a complete human being," Vij said.
"He is encouraging the games. Since the schools are also encouraging games here, I would like to donate Rs 50 Lakh from my discretionary fund," he said on Sunday.
Ahead of assembly polls in Haryana, the Dera had extended support to the BJP.
Vij said, "Dera Sacha Sauda is already promoting sports for a long time and now BJP government will promote all sports related activities by making 20 Olympic Nurseries. In each Haryana district about 400 Nurseries (subsidiaries) will be set up," he said.
He said that these Nurseries will provide many athletes for next Olympics.
Incidentally, the Tiranga Rumal Chhoo - an eight-team competition - that was launched earlier this month with an aim to put the spotlight on "traditional rural culture" and "revive Indian heritage", is a game made up by Gurmeet Ram Rahim .
Forget Olympics, this game that they have made up are not played at an international level or even national level.
Vij, however, thinks that there was nothing wrong in donating the money to a religious sect.
Like all other ministers, Vij has discretionary grant of Rs 5 crore a year. However, there are no detailed guidelines or criteria for allocating such funds.
"What is wrong with it? They run schools, sports are promoted there. I cannot give more than this. If I had more money, I would have given it," he said.
(With inputs from PTI)
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