New Delhi, July 24 IANS | 4 months ago

Political parties Thursday condemned a Telangana BJP leader for criticising the appointment of tennis star Sania Mirza as the state's brand ambassador, saying it was "unfortunate" and "bizarre."

Congress MP Renuka Chowdhury said that Mirza is a "youth icon who has brought glory to the country."

"On one hand, they say 'Beti bachao, beti badhao' in Parliament. On the other hand, they cannot implement what they are saying. When a man becomes ambassador, it is fine. When a woman becomes an ambassador, people raise such issues. I am very happy she has become Telangana ambassador," Chowdhury told reporters outside parliament.

She described the comment as "nonsense".

Telangana BJP leader K. Laxman had Wednesday criticised the state for appointing Mirza its brand ambassador saying she is a non-local and "daughter-in-law" of Pakistan.

He also alleged that the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) did this to appease minorities in view of the coming elections to the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation.

Mirza hit back saying she will "remain an Indian until the end" and was hurt that prominent politicians and the media were wasting precious time "on a petty issue of my being appointed the brand ambassador of my state Telangana."

Describing the BJP leader's remark as "bizarre" and "unfortunate", Congress leader Manish Tewari said: "If you look at this in a wider perspective, ever since this government has come to power, there seems to be a calibrated attempt to try and polarize and keep the communal temperatures in this country soaring."

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati expressed happiness that the Telangana government has named Mirza as the state's brand ambassador.

"It is not right to bring politics into everything. This will create communal disharmony," she added.

While TRS MP K. Kavitha described the issue as "silly".

"Before making any such statements, I only wish the BJP leaders would have just gone through Sania Mirza's records. She has won many awards.

"I don't see what the objection is about. I don't think Amitabh Bachchan is from Gujarat, but he is the brand ambassador of the state.. so what is the big deal about Sania Mirza representing Telangana," said Kavitha whose party is in power in the state.

Seeing the agitated opposition, BJP leader Prakash Javadekar clarified the party's stand, saying the tennis champion was "India's pride".

"Sania Mirza is a pride of India and has an international standing of her own. So, we have no objection. She is the brand ambassador of India," the parliamentary affairs minister said.

But senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi was more critical of Laxman.

"If someone makes such statements, it reflects his culture."

(Posted on 24-07-2014)

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