Senior ministers in the Maharashtra government including Nationalist Congress Party leader Sharad Pawar are facing flak after images of the politicians using a running track meant for athletes as a parking lot in Pune went viral. Reacting to the images on Twitter, Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju expressed his outrage over the incident. "I'm personally very sad to see such disrespect for sports and sporting ethics in our country," Rijiju tweeted.
I'm personally very sad to see such disrespect for sports and sporting ethics in our country. https://t.co/XV47LRckmJ— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) June 27, 2021
The incident occurred on Saturday in Pune during a meeting at the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex. The meeting was attended by Pawar, President of the Indian Olympic Association, as well as Sports Minister Sunil Kedar and Minister of State Aditi Tatkare. In photos shared by BJP legislator Siddharth Shirole from Shivajinagar Constituency on Saturday, cars can be seen parked on the racing track.
In his tweet yesterday, Siddharth Shirole, the BJP legislator from Shivajinagar Constituency, said that apart from Mr Pawar (who is Indian Olympic Association president), Sports Minister Sunil Kedar and Minister of State Aditi Tatkare had also parked their vehicles on the track for athletes at Pune's Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex on Saturday.
It is one thing for the Sport Commissioner of MH to apologize for this disgraceful act... but when will the tall leaders of the #MVA apologize to the athletic community for disrespecting & destructing their hallowed ground with an act that clearly was a brazen abuse of power https://t.co/6EogZYXca0— Siddharth Shirole (@SidShirole) June 27, 2021
Following the outrage against the alleged 'VIP culture' of Maharashtra's top political brass, Maharashtra Sports Commissioner Om Prakash Bakoria apologised for the inicdent and said that the cars had to be parked on the cemented tracks due to a pain in Pawar's leg, preventing him from walking.
"Vehicles were allowed to be parked on cemented tracks as Pawar Sahab had an issue with his leg. It was allowed so that he doesn't face problem in walking," Bakoria told news agency ANI. "Unfortunately, the vehicles came on track. I apologise for it & assure that such incident won't be repeated," he said.