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    Sports Bill: Maken speaks up; Omar backtracks

    New Delhi: Some of the top bosses of Indian sports - Sharad Pawar, Farooq Abdullah, CP Joshi, Praful Patel and Vilasrao Deshmukh on Tuesday attended the Cabinet meet on Sports Bill and their unanimous verdict was that the Bill is intrusive, draconian, authoritarian and unjust.

    Cornered at the Cabinet on Tuesday, it was the turn of Union Sports Minister Ajay Maken to hit out on Wednesday.

    "They are using Government funds directly or indirectly and sending teams representing India as a country. So, we want them to be accountable and answerable," said Maken.

    More accountability is what sports might be looking for from the leaders but thats not what our leaders think. And the Sports Bill has ironically united politicians across party lines.

    "BCCI has done a wonderful job in promotion of cricket. Other sports federation should also be promoted by sports ministry. I don't think there is any conflict of interest in politicians, ministers also holding posts in cricket boards," said BCCI Member Anurag Thakur.

    Ironically the only voice of reason was Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah. Undeterred by the stand his father took at the Cabinet meeting, Omar on Tuesday said, "On a separate note, I believe the Union Ministers heading sports bodies should have recused themselves from the Sports Bill discussion".

    But on Wednesday, he was forced to backtrack, saying, "And on a different note, the next time I plan to tweet on what Central Cabinet Ministers do, someone please tell me to shut up".

    But others are not keeping quiet and it seems Indian sports has a new found activism.

    "There is serious clash of interests," said Team Anna member Prashant Bhushan.

    In a country where sporting federations are associated more with power and pelf rather then the sports itself, it required an Omar Abdullah to remind fellow leaders they needed to recuse themselves to avoid a clash of interest at Cabinet meetings. But the attack on the Sports Bill has shown that leaders are still a far cry from being a sport and making way for younger blood at sporting federations.