Hyderabad:Home Minister P Chidambaram stood in queue, purchased a ticket from the counter and watched the finals of the World Badminton championship from the spectators gallery on Sunday to send a symbolic message after England pulled out citing security reasons following alleged terror threat to the event.
Chidambaram's action seen as an attempt to prove a point that there is no threat to the premier event flew into Hyderabad by a scheduled commercial flight and proceeded in a private car to Gachibowli stadium , a 15-minute drive, unannounced. The Minister, who was without any security cover, was on a "private' visit to the city, official sources said in New Delhi.
The Home Minister bought a Rs 1,000 ticket and proceeded to watch the finals of the Championships from the spectators gallery before he was spotted by the tournament organisers.
Chidamabaram was asked to give away the prizes to men's champion Lin Dan from China and later watched the mixed doubles and womens doubles finals from the VIP arena where national badminton coach P Gopichand was seated next to him.
Cyberabad Police Commissioner S Prabhakara Reddy said the visit to the stadium was not "prearranged".
The England team had pulled out from the citing security reasons after certain intelligence reports suggested that there could be a Lashkar-e-Taiba(LeT) threat to the tournament.
Chidambaram, earlier downplaying the intelligence input, had said, "I am satisfied that the World Badminton Championship will take place in complete security. No one need to have any apprehensions on this score."
He had said the alert in Hyderabad was based on the information shared with the state police in a routine manner.
"Despite a statement made by me (on security arrangements for the championship), one of the teams withdrew and If I may say frankly, I was burning from inside when I saw that," the Home Minister told reporters after coming out from the stadium.
Chidambaram added that he was in Hyderabad to "compliment" the Andhra Pradesh government and and its police force for providing security for the badminton championship.
"I thought I will come here to compliment the Andhra Pradesh Government and the police, especially the two Police Commissionerates of Hyderabad and Cyberabad on providing foolproof security for the event," he said.
The Home Minister said the event showcased India's ability to provide full and complete security to any international sporting event.