By our special correspondent
Shillong: MC Mary Kom, India’s best known woman pugilist and Olympic bronze medal winner has been nominated to the Rajya Sabha from amongst persons who have special knowledge or practical experience in literature, science, art and social service, as per Article 80 of the Constitution. Although Sports and Media are not mentioned but of late it has become common for the ruling government to co-opt people from these two fields to the Rajya Sabha.
The only person from the North East to be nominated this time, it is believed that Mary Kom would be replacing Prof Mrinal Miri, former Vice Chancellor, North Eastern Hill University (NEHU) and a scholar of outstanding repute in his discipline of Philosophy.
Meanwhile there is celebration among the small Kom tribe in the hills of Manipur over the appointment of Mary Kom but the lady herself while speaking to the media in Delhi on Saturday April, 23 said, “I heard that I have been nominated but I have not given much thought to it. I am more concerned about qualifying for the Rio Olympics. But she also added, “Let’s hope that as Rajya Sabha MP I can push for more robust sports policy in this country.”
There is a lot of scepticism about whether sportspersons should be co-opted into politics or be left to mentor younger sportspersons and promote the sport vigorously. Following Sachin Tendulkar’s miserable presence of only 5.5 % % from 2012 when he was appointed up to December 2015 and considering that he asked all of two questions in that time, many feel that the nominating of sportspersons or actors who barely attend sessions, much less speak in the Upper House it is a waste of resources.
But the BJP may be considering other factors in the Mary Kom nomination. Manipur is scheduled to have its state assembly elections by March next year (2017). The Party has already been needling the Congress Government there headed by Ibobi Singh and if possible would do a Arunachal Pradesh or an Uttarakhand there too. With the ferment in the hills over the three controversial Bills passed in August last year, the BJP might be trying to apply a palliative. But a senior tribal academician based in Delhi says the tactic is unlikely to work. “Manipur is ethnically fragmented and Mary Kom comes from a very small community.”