Amid model code in force in Manipur, five sports persons from the northeastern state and two others from the region including Olympic gymnast Dipa Karmakar were on Tuesday felicitated by the Centre and given cash prizes.
Besides Karmakar, Indian women hockey captain P Sushila Chanu, Olympian L Bombayla Devi (archery), H Lal Ruatfeli (hockey, women), K Chinglensan Singh (hockey, men), K Kothajit Singh (hockey, men) and Saikhom Mirabai Chanu (weightlifting) were given cash prizes of Rs 2 lakh each for their outstanding performance.
Dipa hails from Tripura and Ruatfeli is from Mizoram.
They were honoured by Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju at a special function.
Rijiju, who hails from Arunachal Pradesh, strongly defended the move to honour the sports persons from the Northeast saying the event was planned six months ago and it has nothing to do with March 4 and 8 Assembly elections in Manipur.
“We had planned to honour the sports icons from the Northeast six months ago. It has nothing to do with the elections. It will have no impact on the elections in Manipur,” he asserted after the function.
The event was attended by two Congress MPs - Vincent Pala (Shillong), Ninong Ering (Arunachal -East) - and National People’s Party’s Conrad Sangma (Tura) besides Minister for DoNER Jitendra Singh.