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Punjab CM announces cash prize for Hindu athlete after netizens point out he only gave ‘good wishes’ while Sikh athlete got prize money for winning medals at CWG

Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann had announced ₹40 lakh for CWG bronze medal winner Harjinder Kaur but only good wishes for silver medal winner Vikas Thakur, which was ‘corrected’ after online outrage

The Indian athletes are performing well at the ongoing Commonwealth Games 2022 at Birmingham. Two of the athletes from Punjab, Harjinder Kaur and Vikas Thakur, won Bronze and silver medals in weight lifting competitions. However, there were allegations of discrimination Thakur by the Punjab govt after the wins, after which the AAP govt took a ‘corrective’ step.

Harjinder Kaur is a native of Mehs village near Nabha, Punjab. While congratulating her, the Chief Minister of Punjab wrote, “Congratulations to Harjinder Kaur, a native of Mehs village near Nabha, for winning a bronze medal in weightlifting in the Commonwealth Games. Harjinder, you will be a source of inspiration for the girls of Punjab. Congratulations to your parents and coaches too. Best wishes for the future. Chakde India.”

After the initial Tweet, within two hours, CM Bhagwant Mann announced Rs 40 cash prize for Kaur under the state government’s policy under the sports department. He said, “Weightlifter Harjinder Kaur of Punjab won a bronze medal in Birmingham Games 2022. Harjinder Kaur of Mehs village near Nabha will be given a cash prize of 40 lakh rupees by the Punjab government as per the policy of the sports department. This achievement of this proud player will encourage the upcoming players, especially our girls.”

On the same day, Vikas Thakur from Ludhiana won the Silver medal in the weight lifting tournament. CM wrote, “Another athlete from Punjab entered the medal list of India in the Commonwealth Games. Vikas Thakur of Ludhiana won the silver medal in the 96 kg weight lifting competition, lifting 346 kg. Congratulations. Keep up the hard work. Best wishes for the future. Well done. Chakde India!”

Hours passed by, but there was no announcement from the Chief Minister of any cash prize for Thakur. Netizens started to point out that a Sikh athlete who won a Bronze medal was awarded a cash prize, but a Hindu athlete did not get anything after winning the silver medal.

Twitter user 4racs sarcastically said, “UNESCO has declared AAP as the most secular political party in Universe,” and shared screenshots of CM Mann’s tweets.

Another Twitter user Ritik said, “Cash Prize of 40 L when a Sikh from Punjab won Bronze Medal, but just congratulations wish from Punjab CM when a Hindu from Punjab won Silver Medal. What a selective approch by Bhagwant Maan.”

Twitter user Equateall said, “Mr Bhagwant Mann Ji, the Silver medal is a higher honour than bronze. The Ludhiana weight lifter Vikas Thakur deserves an appropriate cash prize from the Punjab govt for winning silver medal.”

After 15 hours of initial tweet congratulating Thakur, CM Mann finally announced a cash reward for him. He said, “Ludhiana’s Vikas Thakur won a silver medal in weightlifting during the ongoing Commonwealth Games at Birmingham. According to the sports policy of the Punjab government, Vikas will be awarded ₹ 50 lakhs as a prize. My government is fully committed to encouraging and providing all possible help to the sportsmen of Punjab.”

It is unclear if he announced the cash reward following the backlash or if it was just a ‘Sarkari’ delay in the announcement.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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