Sakshi and Babita engage in war of words over wrestlers’ protest against WFI chief

New Delhi:  In an ugly war of words, Sakshi Malik accused former wrestler and BJP leader Babita Phogat of siding with the government during their protest against the WFI chief while the latter claimed that the Rio Games bronze medallist has become a “Congress’ puppet”.

Malik and her husband Satyawart Kadian had on Saturday asserted that the wrestlers’ protest was not politically motivated and in no way it was inspired by Congress as it was BJP leaders Babita and Teerath Rana, who had helped them in taking police permission for the sit-in at Jantar Mantar.

On Sunday, quoting their Saturday video, Malik tweeted that they had taken a dig at Babita and Rana about how they tried to use the wrestlers for their selfish motives but the satire was not understood for the lack of sense of humour.

“In the video (posted on Saturday), we had commented how Teerath Rana and Babita Phogat were trying to use wrestlers for their selfish motives and how when the wrestlers were in trouble, they opted to sit on the lap of the government.” “We are definitely in trouble, but the sense of humour should not become so weak that a joke cracked on the powerful could not be understood,” the tweet read further.

Babita, who had mediated between the wrestlers and the government during the grapplers’ three-day protest in January, tweeted a long reply to Malik and claimed that she had nothing to do with their protest since she was against the agitation on road from day one.

“It pained me and also made me laugh when I saw the video posted by my younger sister and her husband. Let me make it clear that the letter, seeking police permission, does not carry my signature. I have nothing to do with that,” she wrote, completely pulling herself away from the protest.

“From day one, I was not in favour of any protest or demonstration. I had maintained that I have faith in the PM and the judiciary and the truth will come out.

“I repeatedly told them to meet Prime Minister or Home Minister for a solution but you saw solution with Deepnder Hooda, Congress and Priyanka Gandhi, who themselves were accompanied by rape accused people.

“…….your video will make people understand that how shameful it was on your part to start a march on the inauguration day of the new parliament building and then talking about immersing medals in river Ganga.

“People of this country have understood that you have become a Congress’ puppet. Now is the time that you reveal your real motive because people are asking questions now,” wrote Babita.

Meanwhile, Rana denied the allegations that he had used the wrestlers for selfish motives.

“The wrestlers came and met me (before staging the protest) and they told us that they were being exploited. We said we are with our sisters and daughters. I am with the athletes in the fight for justice. I was there with them before and I am now as well,” Rana said in a video.

The video was shared in the WhatsApp group that was created to disseminate information to media during protest. The Rana video was later deleted from the group.

“Look, wrestlers are the pride of the nation and the respect of sportspersons is uppermost on the mind of the BJP, and I also respect them a lot. I have always supported sportspersons,” said Rana in the video.

The country’s top wrestlers including Malik, Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia have accused outgoing Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh of sexual harassment and demanded his arrest.

Kadian had claimed in their saturday video that if they had taken the extreme step of immersing their medals in Ganga, it would have led to violence.

Responding to that, Rana said, “Well, there was no such talk that it (immersion of medals) would lead to violence. There was anger among the sportspersons and they took a decision that they would immerse their medals in river Ganga…but the country’s sentiments were that the athletes should not take such a step.”