Union Minister Anurag Singh Thakur on Tuesday said that the BJP will benefit immensely from the experience of former Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, who officially joined the BJP on Monday. Thakur holds the Information & Broadcasting as well as Sports & Youth Affairs departments in the Union government.
Thakur, while addressing the media in Jalandhar on Tuesday, said that the BJP was glad to have Captain Amarinder in its folds will benefit from his experience. “Captain Amarinder has already said that PM Narendra Modi has made India strong in the field of Defence and also taken India ahead in every field. This shows that he stands by the BJP,” said Thakur.
Prodded about how the BJP plans campaign for the Himachal Assembly polls with Captain Amarinder by its side as the former CM had grandchildren who were married in Congress families (like former Congress CM Vir Bhadra Singh’s family), Thakur said that this would not be the first time when members of the same family were in different parties.
Asked why Captain’s wife and Congress MP Parneet Kaur had not joined BJP, Thakur said that every individual had their own right to decide about which party they wanted to join.
On the alleged deplaning issue of Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann in Germany, Thakur said that the Delhi government’s liquor scam and other liquor-related stories are the topics of discussion in media and social media nationally and internationally and Arvind Kejriwal and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) should reply as to what they were trying to hide.
Asked about development in the field of sports, Thakur said that sports was a state subject and every state should contribute to the same.
“The Centre, under its ‘Target Olympic Podium’ scheme, spends Rs 100 crore on training, lodging, boarding of players in the country and abroad. The sports budget has been increased from Rs 840 crore to Rs. 2400 crore and was at present spending Rs 2,770 crore on 302 sports disciplines in India,” Thakur said.
Earlier in Amritsar, the minister had honoured 25 players who had earned medals at the Khelo India University Games, All India Inter-University Championships, and Khelo India Youth Games of Guru Nanak Dev University in Amritsar. Cash prizes worth more than Rs 2 crore as well as trophies to best performing colleges were handed out by Thakur.
Later, while addressing a gathering at Guru Nanak Dev University, he said that the university’s reputation preceded itself and it is one of the major sporting academies in the nation.
The university, he said, has won the prestigious Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (MAKA) Trophy a record 23 times, besides having produced 34 Arjuna, two Dronacharya and six Padma Shri Awardees.
The Union Minister said that with renewed focus on promoting women athletes, the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports had decided to conduct dedicated Khelo India Women’s Leagues across nine disciplines – hockey, archery, weightlifting, cycling, boxing, swimming, wrestling, volleyball and judo. More than 23,000 women athletes were likely to participate in these competitions.