Nagpur News : Mrs. Poonam Mahajan Rao, National President of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, the BJP youth wing , was Chief Guest at the inauguration of the 5th State Table Tennis Championship, organised by the Nagpur District Table Tennis Association. Poonam reminisced about her father, Late Mr. Pramod Mahajan’s love for the sport and how he used to conduct political meetings around the table tennis table at home.
Nagpur Today had an exclusive chat with Poonam on the sidelines of the event. Following are the excerpts from the interaction:
Meghna: How much experience of sports have you had till date?
Poonam: I was a member of the Kabaddi team in school. I can also play hockey quite well. My parents almost brought me up as a boy; I played a lot of sports that were considered “non- conventional” for girls in those days.
Meghna: How important is governmental support to sportspersons in the State?
Poonam: When I was in school, sports were considered an “extra- curricular activity”. Today, it is much more a part of the mainstream student life. It is very important to stimulate the minds of parents and make them accept and encourage sports; that shift has begun. It is very encouraging to see the large number of competitors gathered here, with their parents to support them.
As far as administrative support is concerned, I completely agree with what Mr. Fadnavis said in his inaugural speech- for sports in the country to grow, there should be less politics in sports. Children in countries like the USA receive much more encouragement than our children do; becoming a sportsperson is considered an ambitious and profitable career option there. I want the same situation in our country. When I see my eight- year old son horse- riding, or watch him during his football practice, I see no reason for him to not take t up professionally.
Meghna: The term “technocrat” is frequently used today, to refer to you and other young leaders and politicians. What do you think it implies?
Poonam: For a leader and a politician, knowing technology is about more than knowing how to operate a cell phone or a computer. It is about knowing how to use that technology to take the country’s thought process forward. India is a knowledge- based country, yet China is ahead of us in this arena. I am talking about the need to develop Science and Technology in this country, and using it well. I think that’s what the term implies.
Meghna: What is your opinion on the recent Cabinet Reshuffle in the Central government?
Poonam: I do not have an opinion of it at all. The government must realise that it has a responsibility to the country, and that the damage it has caused through corruption is irreversible. I had hoped that that the reshuffle would be an attempt to set things right, by putting able people in the right places. I had hoped to see some thinking behind it. But it turned out to be a purely political reshuffle, and a mere show of strength.
Meghna: What do you have to say about the corruption allegations against your party President, Nitin Gadkari?
Poonam: We (Bharatiya Janata Party) have absolute faith in him. He has been asking for an inquiry himself, which means that his conscience is clear. The fact that a politician has come forward and is open to a probe against him should earn some respect in this country. Our only demand is for an open inquiry, instead of a governmental one.
– Meghna Majumdar