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Pugilist defends EC punch

Imphal, March 29: Boxing star Mary Kom is prepared to stick to her stand that she has not violated the norms of an icon of the Election Commission by appreciating Ajay Maken’s performance while he was the Union sports minister.

Radio jingles (advertisement) and video clippings of various sportspersons, including Mary Kom, vouching for Maken has attracted the attention of the commission.

“As a national icon of the ECI you are expected not to exhibit any support to any political party or contesting candidate, which was explained to you when you kindly joined us in the mission of promoting voter participation,” Akshay Rout, director-general of ECI, wrote to Mary Kom on Wednesday.

The commission’s letter said Mary Kom was seen in a video on YouTube, extending words of support to Maken and this message being aired on radio channels.

“You are, therefore, requested not to associate with any political person or have any affiliation with any political party in future during your engagement with the commission as a national icon. You may also disassociate formally from the aforesaid video or any such other venture,” Rout wrote.

In her reply, Mary Kom denied supporting Maken or any political party. “If this (appreciation) is considered an act against the norms of being a national icon of the Election Commission, I am ready to clarify any further queries,” she said in her letter to the ECI, dated March 27.

Mary Kom maintained that she had no political links with Maken or any party. Her intention on the said comment was not political but an appreciation, as a person, of all he had done as a Union minister. India gave its best performance in Olympic Games during London Olympics 2012, which was during his tenure, she added. “It is sad that my comment has been taken as political involvement and made a political issue out of,” she said in her letter.

Mary Kom was not available for comment as she is undergoing training at Pune for the Commonwealth Games to be held in Scotland in July.

It is not clear how she was featured in the radio jingles and video clippings. The clipping is not currently available on YouTube.

Reports quoted Mary Kom as saying in the jingles, “Maken took some landmark initiatives to make sports administration more responsible and transparent. He helped get me modern training facilities and international coaching, which became instrumental in my victory at the London Olympics. Thank you Ajay Maken. I am with you."


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