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Indian sports minister's 'selfie stunts' at Rio Games condemned by Congress

India sports minister Vijay Goel has been accused by the Games organisers of being 'aggressive and rude'. Photograph: (AFP)

ANI New Delhi, India Aug 13, 2016, 06.42 AM (IST)
Accusing India's sports minister Vijay Goel for bringing disrepute to the nation at the Rio Olympics by flouting rules and codes of decency, the opposition party Congress today asserted that Goel could have done his job of taking care and cheering the Indian contingency by staying back in the country.

Congress leader Priyanka Chaturvedi said it was "unfortunate and disappointing" that under the garb of cheering the Indian squad at the Olympics, the minister's team was busy in "self glorification".

"We have seen how the sports minister has got a letter from the Olympic team saying that all his access will be denied if his contingent, the people he is travelling with him, continues to be rude and arrogant. How embarrassing as a nation is this for us," she said.

Adding that while there are players openly complaining about uniforms not reaching on time and physios not being allotted, the Congress leader asserted that Goel was busy taking selfies and flouting every rule at Rio instead of tending to the needs of the athletes.

"This is a serious event, we are not there for self-glorification and are there to ensure that our players get the best of facilities, best of infrastructure and this is something that could`ve been achieved while staying back in India," she said.

Taking a swipe at sports minister of  northern Haryana, Anil Vij, for also joining Goel at Rio to take selfies, Chaturvedi stated that the purpose of his visit fell on the same grounds as the Indian sports minister, adding that it was going to be yet another disappointment for the nation.

"Besides seeking selfie and their own self-glorification and going on a trip at the tax payers' expense, there is nothing really they do to cheer our team on. Having said that, what comes across is how the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP, the ruling party in the country) thinks only in terms of the state and region they belong to. It exposed the mindset when Mr Anil Vij who says that he is going there to only to cheer Haryana," she said.

Further hitting out at Vij, the Congress leader added the minister has gone there under the Indian flag and that is who they should be representing, not their states.

Earlier, after being pulled up by the Rio Olympic organisers Vijay Goel rubbished being part of any controversy in the ongoing prestigious quadrennial event saying that he has been following all the rules and regulations and is fully committed to the spirit of the Games. 

The Rio Olympic Organising Committee, in a scathing letter to India's chef-de-mission Rakesh Gupta, had threatened to cancel the accreditation of Goel for being 'aggressive and rude' and trying to bring other non-accredited people at the accredited areas of the Games venues.

Denying his involvement in any miff with the Summer Games organisers, the sports minister wrote on Twitter that there seems to be some misunderstanding. "To my knowledge, we have been following all rules and regulations. We are committed to the spirit of Olympics and back our Indian players. There seems to be some misunderstanding as we have followed all protocols as advised by the organizers," Goel tweeted.

The warning about Goel`s accreditation could be revoked reportedly came from Sarah Peterson, the continental manager for the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee.

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