Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik
Grappler Bajrang Punia on Friday tried to meet PM Modi and hand over a protest letter but he was stopped by Delhi police. File pic

It's Bajrang's personal decision to return Padma Shri: Sports ministry

New Delhi, Dec 22 (PTI) The Sports Ministry on Friday said Bajrang Punia's decision to return his Padma Shri award in protest against Sanjay Singh's election as Wrestling Federation of India president is a personal one but it will still try to convince him to rethink the move.

Olympic medallist grappler Bajrang decided to return the honour a day after Sanjay, a Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh loyalist, was elected to the top post at WFI.

On Thursday, Sanjay was elected as the president of the WFI after the panel led by the close aide of Brij Bhushan won 13 of the 15 posts.

Sakshi Malik, Bajrang and Vinesh Phogat addressed a press conference after Sanjay's election in which Sakshi, a bronze medallist at the 2016 Rio Olympics, announced that she would quit the sport as a mark of protest.

But ministry sources said the WFI elections were conducted in a free and transparent manner.

"It is Bajrang Punia's personal decision to return Padma Shri. The WFI elections were held in fair and democratic manner," a ministry official told PTI.

"We will still try to persuade Bajrang to reverse his decision to return Padma Shri," he added.

Bajrang on Friday tried to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and hand over a protest letter, where he mentioned about returning his Padma Shri award.

But he was stopped at Kartavya Path by Delhi Police officials since he didn't have any prior appointment. PTI

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Federal staff and is auto-published from a syndicated feed.)
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