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'Self-respect comes first...' Rahul Gandhi takes 'Bahubali' jibe at PM Modi, shares Vinesh Phogat's video

With regard to wrestler Vinesh Phogat's return of her Khel Ratna and Arjuna medals, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi poked fun at Prime Minister Narendra Modi by stating that "for every daughter of the country, self-respect comes first and any other medal or honour comes after that".

Self respect comes first Rahul Gandhi takes Bahubali dig at PM Modi shares Vinesh Phogat video gcw
First Published Dec 31, 2023, 2:58 PM IST

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi while sharing a video of World Championship medallist Vinesh Phogat, wherein she could be seen returning her Khel Ratna and Arjuna Award. 

In a post on X on Sunday, Gandhi said, "For every daughter of the country, self-respect comes first, any other medal or honor comes after that. Today, did the price of 'political benefits' received from a 'proclaimed Bahubali' exceed the tears of these brave daughters? The Prime Minister is the guardian of the nation, it hurts to see such cruelty on his part."

Gandhi's statement came a day after Vinesh Phogat returned the two awards to the government. The gold medallist grappler from the Asian Games said in a letter to Prime Minister Modi that she would be returning her Khel Ratna and Arjuna Award to the government.

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According to Phogat, these honours have lost their significance at a time when wrestlers are fighting for justice. Phogat said that their lives are not like those "fancy government advertisements" that promote women's empowerment and upliftment in a letter that was put on X, the former Twitter.

She tried to go to the prime minister's office on Saturday to return her awards, but she was stopped by the police before she could get there (PMO). As a mark of protest, she left the awards at the Kartavya Path and they were later picked up by Delhi Police.


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Olympic medallists Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia, as well as Phogat, had voiced their opposition to Sanjay Singh's appointment to head the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI). Sanjay Singh is a close associate of Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, the former head of WFI, who faced allegations of sexual harassment. The Sports Ministry later suspended the newly-elected panel for not following the provisions of its own constitution. In response to a direction from the sports ministry, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) established a three-person ad hoc committee on Wednesday to oversee the WFI's daily operations.

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