Don't brand me an outsider, will always remain an Indian: Sania Mirza
Tennis star Sania Mirza on Thursday expressed her hurt and anguish over her being branded an outsider by some elements in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) post her appointment as a brand ambassador for the state of Telangana.
In a statement issued here, Sania said: "I strongly condemn attempts to brand me as an outsider. I am an Indian and will always remain an Indian till the end of my life. It hurts me that so much time of politicians is being wasted on a petty issue."
Sania was reacting to some sections of the BJP opposing her appointment as Telangana's brand ambassador because she is married to Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik.
Senior BJP leader Subramanium Swamy told ANI, "I agree with the BJP leaders that when people have divided loyalties, we cannot expect them to represent the country or any part of the country faithfully. So, the BJP stand is well taken."
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Majid Memon, however, defended Mirza, saying that she can marry anyone, and she is a symbol of pride for India.
Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Naresh Agarwal, too, said that if Sania Mirza has been made a brand ambassador, then there is nothing wrong with it. He also questioned why the BJP does not protest against foreign coaches.
Various political leaders, including Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati and Congress leader Manish Tewari have come out in support of Sania Mirza as the brand ambassador of Telangana, and criticized the BJP and its leaders for opposing her appointment.
Congress leader Manish Tewari told ANI, "It is extremely unfortunate and bizarre that such illogical arguments are being trotted around. Not only is the person in question a very acclaimed player but as an individual you have the right to marry someone of your choice. That doesnot detract from your achievements or from your nationality."
BSP chief Mayawati also said, "She is a citizen of our country and we should welcome Telangana's move to make her the brand ambassador. We should not involve politics in everything."
CPI (M) leader Sitaram Yechury also came out in support of the tennis player.
He said, "Sania Mirza is an Indian citizen and plays for India. She has got many trophies for India. It is not right to say this about her."
Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) MP and Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao's daughter K. Kavitha said that she respects the decision of the Telangana Government to appoint tennis star Sania Mirza as the state's brand ambassador, and added that there was no question of the latter not being seen as a citizen of India.
K Kavitha told ANI, "We have generally seen this kind of competitive spirit in sportsmen which is good. It feels good that everyone is trying to be the brand ambassador of Telangana. But whatever decision Telangana government has taken must be a well thought one. They must have checked the background as well."
Defending the Telangana Government's decision, she said, "Respecting the Telangana government's decision all I want to say to all the sportsperson is that whosoever is in Telangana will play from its side, be it any sport. The government will completely support them irrespective of the fact that they bear the tag of brand ambassador or not."
"Indian government has given many awards to her (Sania Mirza). We have never said that she is not the citizen of India. As per my knowledge of sports she plays from India's team. So, the decision taken is not wrong," she added.
Supporting the Telangana Government's decision of making Sania Mirza the brand ambassador of Telangana, Congress president Professor Saifuddin Soz said, "Sania Mirza is a brand ambassador and a good player, just needs respect. Any kind of discrimination should not be made between players."
"She plays from India, for India. She has done immense proud to the country. There is no doubt in that," he added.
Opposing the whole issue, Congress MP from Telangana, V Hanumantha Rao said, "BJP and I have two different says on Telangana issue. If Andhra government is giving fee reimbursement only to people who were born before 1956, it means that they are very strong on Telangana issue."
"You are very particular of who has been born and brought up in Telangana, and only specific children will get opportunity of fee reimbursement. At that time if a lady who has married a Pakistani person is made brand ambassador, then people will not appreciate it.
She has never fought for Telangana so how can she be made the ambassador," he added.
Sania Mirza was declared the ambassador of the newly formed state of Telangana recently, but Telangana BJP leader K Laxman opposed her appointment, saying that she was Pakistan's daughter-in-law.
(Posted on 24-07-2014)