Thiruvananthapuram: Renowned sportsperson Anju Bobby George has resigned as the President of the Kerala Sports Council, following the public row between her and the new Sports Minister, EP Jayarajan. Anju submitted her resignation at a meeting of the Sports Council in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday. 12 other council members also resigned along with her.
Speaking to journalists after the council meeting, she said that she and other members felt that they could not continue in their positions in view of the ongoing controversy. She added that while sportspersons in Kerala have to deal with corruption, “Sportspersons can’t be defeated by politics.”
On June 9, Anju had submitted a complaint to the Chief Minister of Kerala alleging that the Sports Minister EP Jayarajan had abused and threatened her and other members of the Kerala Sports Council. Anju alleged that at the first meeting of the council with the new minister, he had accused them of all being supporters of the opposition party and threatened them with dire consequences since the LDF had come to power.
Further, according to Anju, the Minister had pointed to her travel from Bengaluru to Kerala for sports council activities and claimed that all members of the Sports Council were corrupt. However, Anju clarified that the funds for her air fare had been sanctioned by the Finance Ministry. The athlete also complained that the Minister had reversed some crucial decisions of the council including all recent transfer orders issued by the council.
For his part, Sports Minister Jayarajan maintained that the meeting with the Sports Council had been amicable, and that he had only sought to raise a few questions on some procedural problems with the council’s functioning.
After the row between the Minister and the Council President became public, the latter issued an open letter, in which she said she was returning the Rs 40,000 that she had received for air fare. She also pointed out that the post of President of the Sports Council was a post without any salary, and said that, “A person who stood on the victory podium looking at the tri-colour with tearful eyes can ever sell sports for money.”
As for the claims of corruption during her tenure, she said that the Minister might have been misled and urged him to conduct a probe into the last 10 years of functioning of the Sports Council.