Controversy has stirred over tennis star Sania Mirza being made brand ambassador of India's new state of Telangana after ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader termed her as "daughter-in-law" of Pakistan.
Telangana's BJP leader K Laxman on Wednesday questioned her credentials for the honour.
The comments came after Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on Tuesday named Mirza as the brand ambassador of Telangana and described her as the daughter of Hyderabad, capital of Telangana.
Another leader of the BJP, Subramanian Swamy, supported the statement by saying that people with divided loyalties cannot represent the country or any of its parts faithfully.
"I am married to Mr. Shoaib Malik, who is from Pakistan. I am an Indian, who will remain an Indian until the end of my life (sic)
"I agree with the BJP people that when people have divided loyalties we can't expect them to represent the country or any part of the country faithfully. So, the BJP stand is well taken," said Swamy.
Mirza is married to Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik. The duo have settled in Dubai after their wedding. The 27-year-old tennis player is the first Indian to win a WTA tour event in 2005.
"It hurts me that so much precious time of prominent politicians and the media is being wasted on a petty issue of my being (sic)," Sania Mirza wrote on Twitter.
"I am married to Mr Shoaib Malik, who is from Pakistan. I am an Indian, who will remain an Indian until the end of my life (sic)."
The BJP leaders' remarks have created uproar among the political circle of the country with leader of all the parties taking it as an opportunity to hit on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's BJP.
A senior leader of Communist Party of India (Marxist), Brinda Karat, termed the statement as highly condemnable and added that only perverted and twisted mind can make such comment.
Opposition Congress party leader, Manish Tiwari, said it was unfortunate and bizarre to comment on a sports person who has made India proud.
"Well it's extremely very unfortunate and bizarre that such illogical arguments are being totted around not only is the person in question a very acclaimed player but as an individual she has the right to possibly marry somebody of her choice and in that in no manner either detracts from the achievements or from your nationality," he said.
Meanwhile, India's Communication Minister, Prakash Javadekar cleared the government stand by saying that Sania Mirza is pride of India and the party does not have objection.
"Sania Mirza is a pride of India and Sania Mirza has an international standing on her own, so we have no objection," he said.
Source: Al Jazeera And Reuters