Rahul Gandhi Meets Wrestlers In Haryana, Bajrang Punia Shares Conversation

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi today met the country's prominent wrestlers, including Olympic bronze medallist Bajrang Poonia, at a gathering in Haryana's Jhajjar district.

Rahul Gandhi Meets Wrestlers In Haryana, Bajrang Punia Shares Conversation

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi today met the country's prominent wrestlers, including Olympic bronze medallist Bajrang Poonia, at a gathering in Haryana's Jhajjar district.

The meeting comes amid several wrestlers returning their awards to protest the election results of Wrestling Federation of India (WFI). Sanjay Singh, an aide of BJP MP and former wrestling boss Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, was elected president of WFI. The BJP MP had to step aside in the wake of sexual harassment allegations against him earlier this year.

Mr Poonia, Commonwealth Games gold medallist Vinesh Phogat and Olympic bronze medallist Sakshee Malikkh had led the protest against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.

Speaking to news agency ANI, Mr Poonia said, "He (Rahul Gandhi) came to see our wrestling routine. He did wrestling. He came to see the day-to-day activities of a wrestler."

Earlier, Mr Poonia said he had decided to return his Padma Shri and will not take it back till "sisters and daughters" fighting against sexual harassment get justice.

At a press conference soon after the WFI election results, Ms Malikkh said she had decided to quit wrestling to protest against the victory of Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh's aide. 

The activities of WFI have since been suspended by the centre over hasty announcement of the junior nationals. 

The Sports ministry's statement also noted that the newly elected body "appears to be (in) complete control of former office bearers in complete disregard to the Sports Code".

The business of WFI, the ministry said, is being run from the premises controlled by former office bearers. "Which is also alleged premises wherein sexual harassment of the players have been alleged and (at) present the court in hearing the matter," it added.