Udayavni Special

Cong welcomes Khel Ratna Award renaming, accuses PM of playing ”myopic politics”


PTI, Aug 6, 2021, 6:02 PM IST

New Delhi: The Congress on Friday welcomed the renaming of India”s highest sporting honour Khel Ratna Award in the name of hockey legend Dhyan Chand but accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of playing “myopic politics” in the name of sportspersons.

It also hoped that the prime minister would rechristen stadiums which are in his and former Union Minister Arun Jaitley”s names after legendary sportspersons such as Milkha Singh, Sachin Tendulkar, Kapil Dev and P T Usha.

The Khel Ratna Award, which was named after former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, was on Friday rechristened in the honour of three-time Olympic gold medallist Dhyan Chand following the admirable performance of both men’s and women’s hockey teams in the Tokyo Olympics.

Making the announcement, Modi said he had been getting many requests from citizens across India to name the award after Dhyan Chand.

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala accused the prime minister of trying to be “myopic” and after reducing the sports budget by Rs 230 crore in an Olympic year was trying to deflect the attention from fundamental issues of farmers, Pegasus and inflation.

“The Congress welcomes that the Khel Ratna Award has been named after the most celebrated sportsperson and hockey wizard Dhyan Chand. We sincerely hope Modi ji should not have used his myopic political motives to drag the name of a celebrated player like Major Dhyan Chand,” he told reporters.

Surjewala said Rajiv Gandhi is not known for any awards, but for his sacrifice and ideas, for his commitment to India and for the manner in which he transformed the country into the 21st century.

Already, the ”Dhyan Chand Award for Lifetime Achievement in Sports and Games”, instituted in 2002, is named after the hockey wizard. “We are happy that one more honour, the ”Khel Ratna Award” has also been named after him,” the Congress leader said.

“Now that a new beginning has been made, we sincerely hope that Modi ji will announce changing the name of Narendra Modi Stadium and Arun Jaitley Stadium and rechristen it after the legendary sportspersons like Milkha Singh, Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar, Kapil Dev, Leander Paes, P T Usha, Mary Kom, Abhinav Bindra and many many others.”

“We sincerely hope that instead of being myopic and parochial, Modiji will truly celebrate the success of our legendary sportspersons,” Surjewala said.

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