Kerala

P.T. Usha refuses to be drawn into controversy


BJP State president K. Surendran handing over a copy of Modi@20 to athletics legend P.T. Usha at her house in Payyoli in Kozhikode on Friday

BJP State president K. Surendran handing over a copy of Modi@20 to athletics legend P.T. Usha at her house in Payyoli in Kozhikode on Friday

KOZHIKODE Olympian P.T. Usha has refused to be dragged into a controversy over a comment of CPI(M) central committee member Elamaram Kareem, MP, that the sprint queen secured the nomination to the Rajya Sabha for proving something other than an eligibility she had displayed in the Asian Games.

Replying to questions while addressing the media along with BJP State president K. Surendran and district president V.K. Sajeevan at her residence at Payyoli here on Friday, Ms. Usha said she respected Mr. Kareem as a mass leader. “ I know him for nearly 30 years. He has the right to comment on anything. Many have congratulated me while others may have criticised me as well,“ she said.

Inaugurating a protest meeting in Kozhikode on Thursday seeking to release civil rights activists Teesta Setalvad and former Gujarat police officer R.B. Sreekumar, Mr. Kareem, without naming Ms. Usha, said that now a person had been nominated to the Rajya Sabha and remarked that she had been proving her eligibility for quite some time to get nominated to the Rajya Sabha.

Mr. Kareem made the reference to Ms. Usha’s nomination to the Upper House after mentioning about the nomination of former Supreme Court Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi to the Rajya Sabha after his retirement. He was part of the apex court bench which pronounced the verdict on the Ayodhya title dispute case, Mr. Kareem said.

However, declaring that her life-breath itself was sports, Ms. Usha said that she had no politics and added that she had never expected the nomination nor had any regrets in the delayed recognition.

Responding to another query whether she would plunge into active politics like actor Suresh Gopi after his nomination to the Rajya Sabha, Ms. Usha said different individuals had different personalities. “ I may not be like Suresh Gopi. For that matter, I like the BJP, CPI(M) and the Congress,“ she said diplomatically.

Ms. Usha said she felt happy about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s appreciation of her. “P.T. Ushaji is an inspiration for every Indian. Her accomplishments in sports are widely known but equally commendable is her work to mentor budding athletes over the last several years,” Mr. Modi had tweeted.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan also congratulated Ms. Usha through his official twitter account saying that “As an illustrious athlete and inspiring mentor you have done Kerala and India proud. Hope your term will be beneficial for our sports and will help to strengthen our secular democracy.”

Meanwhile. Union Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan demanded that Mr. Kareem withdraw his insulting remark about Ms. Usha and apologise to her. His statement was not only a disparagement of India’s proud star but also revealed the dirty mind of the communists, the Minister said.

BJP State president Mr. Surendran flayed the “unbefitting conduct” of Mr. Kareem to insult an Olympian just because of narrow-minded politics. The CPI (M) leaders have made a habit of insulting the country’s Constitution and national heroes, he alleged.


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Printable version | Jul 9, 2022 7:43:24 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/pt-usha-refuses-to-be-drawn-into-controversy/article65617106.ece