Ministers line up to donate exchequer money to sect

Ministers line up to donate exchequer money to sect

Haryana ministers are on a spree donating lakhs of rupees from the state exchequer to a wing of Sirsa-based philanthropic sect Dera Sacha Sauda for promotion of indigenous and other sports.

After donating Rs 50 lakh from his discretionary fund, Haryana Sports Minister Anil Vij, who earlier courted controversy after he led a nine-member delegation for the Rio Olympics, on Monday remained adamant saying he would have donated more money if he had more such funds. Another Haryana minster Manish Kumar Grover on Sunday followed suit. He donated Rs 11 lakh for the purpose. One of the events held inside the sect on Sunday evening also saw the presence of Union Sports Minster Vijay Goel, who promised support to the sect activities to promote sports.

The money was given by ministers to the sports wing of the sect for promotion of some rural games, including “Rumaal Choo”— a game where two players try to run away with a handkerchief placed inside a ring. The issue is courting controversy given that the sect head Gurmeet Ram Rahim is facing various charges in courts. Besides, the sect which espouses an egalitarian philosophy, has a large support base across various states and its political wing had “lent support” to the saffron party that came to power for the first time on its own in Haryana under Manohar Lal Khattar.

Vij on Monday said, “To promote sports, the sect is setting up a games village inside its campus. For the growth and promotion of games, I can only contribute this much, If I had power to donate more, then I would have done so.”

The opposition INLD and the Congress is stroking the controversy saying it’s a way to “return favour” to the Dera for helping the party during elections.

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