Madhya Pradesh sports department dropped the idea of inviting ace Indian tennis star Sania Mirza as chief guest for its annual sports awards function after state government refused to meet her demand for a makeup kit and chartered jet.
Sports minister Yashodhara Raje Scindia made the disclosure during a lunch hosted in honour of this year’s awardees at Hotel Jehan Numa Palace on Tuesday.
Instead of inviting Sania, sports minister invited senior badminton coach Pullela Gopichand to attend the function. Gopichand is also the technical advisor of the MP badminton academy.
Yashodhararaje wanted Mirza to attend this year’s function. Owing to this reason, the award function could not be held on August 29. “I was in touch with her for past few months. I was shocked when I received a list of demands from her,” the minister said.
She said: “I respect her talent and she has undoubtedly made India proud at international platform but her demands were unacceptable. She wanted MP government to arrange Rs 75,000 worth make-up kit and a chartered jet with five business class tickets.”
She said, “When I asked her manager that Sania is not a Bollywood star and she was invited to motivate budding players, her reply was that even Sania is a big star today.”
Citing her inability to give in to such demands she said, “We are accountable to public money. We can’t spend money on anyone’s personal make-up kit.”
She claimed she received the list of demands just four days before the function. “Everything was set as I was given the date of November 28 by her. I had even directed department officials to make necessary arrangements to organise the event. However, her demands forced me to drop her name and I said no to her,” she claimed.
Praising Gopichand, she said, “I am happy to invite Gopichand. He accepted my request just on a call. His presence has made all of us proud.”
Source: Times of India