Pune, May 2 (UNI) Bal Shastri Jambhekar awardee and All India Marathi Literature Sammelan president Pralhad Sawant today called upon all political parties to forget differences and stand behind the Marathi-speaking sportspersons.
He expressed this opinion at the conclusion of discussion on 'My Party and Our Sports Policy', organised at the first All India Marathi Literature Sammelan, which concluded at the Balgandharva Rang Mandir here.
He pointed out various problems and difficulties faced by the sportspersons and said they are left unsolved despite approaching the the state government.
While calling for whole-hearted support from all the political parties to redress the sportspersons problems and difficulties, Sawant asked why talented players like shooter Anjali Ved Pathak of Mumbai to the international long-distance runner Kashinath Asawale of Akkalkot had to seek representation from other states.
Shiv Sena MLA Arvind Sawant assured the gathering that his party would raise the issue in the ensuing monsoon session of the Mahrashtra assembly in order to give full justice to the athletes and said he would stand strongly support them.
He advocated that sports should be bereft of politics whatsoever.
The birth of Shiv Sena was started with the aim of encouraging young generation and the party stood for sports and youth activities.
He said Shiv Sena regularly conducts competitions of kabaddi and cricket and hence all the parties should rally support behind sportspersons to further their cause.
Abhay Chhajed, president of Pune District Congress Committee, said it has been party tradition to encourage sports right from its inception. He said the first Asian Games were conducted under the prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1952 at New Delhi. Later, the ninth Asian Games were held under the leadership of Indra Gandhi also at Delhi in 1982. Similarly, the conduct of the 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games (CYG) at Pune and the 2010 Commonwealth Games at Delhi are being held under the guidance of Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, and under the leadership of MP Suresh Kalmadi, who is also the president of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).
He felt that all the political parties should come together and create a ''Pressure Lobby'' for removing all hurdles faced by the sportspersons and the sports administrators.
Mr Chhajed demanded to levy ''Sports Cess'' on the lines of education cess to improve the standards and status of Olympic sports on the lines of cricket.
Rupali Patil, representing Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, said her leader Raj Thackeray has shown tremendous belief in youth.
Rupali, who represented the state in volleyball, narrated the various problems and difficulties faced by the sportspersons.
A student of Huzurpaga school stressed that the open spaces reserved for playgrounds should not be used for any other purpose except sports. That should be the main policy of every party. The parties should desist from interfering with the selection, as she herself became the victim of political interference at the time of National Games.
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