While speaking a party meeting, Laxman said, According to the rules that Telangana CM K Chandrasekhara Rao is imposing to differentiate between Telangana locals and non-locals, Sania does not qualify as a Telangana local. She was born in Maharashtra and her parents settled in Hyderabad after 1956, the year that the CM has fixed to determine who is a local and non-local. Going by this, Sania should not be made brand ambassador of Telangana. Also, when there are other important issues to be taken care why pay Rs one crore to her
As his comments spiraled into a controversy, Sania gave a statement that her forefathers worked for Nizam governments. I am married to Shoaib Malik but I am an Indian and will be an Indian till the end of my life. No one can say that I am a non-local of Telangana. I think people are wasting a lot of time debating this small issue, she said.
As Laxman stuck to his stand, he found support from a senior Congress MP and the Congresss Telangana unit chief. Questioning the TRS governments decision, Rajya Sabha MP and AICC secretary Hanumantha Rao said Sania was an outsider. He said former India cricket captain Mohammad Azharuddin would have been a better choice. State Congress president Ponnala Lakshmaiah agreed, saying Sania does not fit into the brand image of Telangana and Hyderabad.
Brand Ambassador is not a cosmetic thing. The person, origin and involvement in the Telangana (movement) add credibility to the brand name. It may not be possible that all the three qualities can be found in one person, but at least the majority of the qualities should be there, Lakshmaiah told The Indian Express.
Hanumantha Rao too said he objected to Mirza being named the brand ambassador as she is not born in Telangana, but in Mumbai. The (Telangana) chief minister is not giving fee reimbursement to students not born in Telangana. How can he then appoint a brand ambassador who is not born in the state, he said.
The Congress, which slammed the BJP MLA, had to distance itself from the remarks of the Congress leaders. Congress spokesperson Rajeev Gowda said at the AICC press conference, If Hanumantha Rao has said that, we would dissociate ourselves and say that could be his personal view.
Earlier, the BJP distanced itself from Laxmans statement, saying it was not the party position. Union minister Prakash Javadekar said, Sania Mirza is a pride of India. She has an international standing on her own... So, we have no objection. I am sure she is pride of India. She is the brand ambassador of India.