Dhyan Chand could have been honoured without insulting sacrifice of Rajiv Gandhi: Shiv Sena
Shiv Sena on Monday slammed BJP-led Central government for changing the name of the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, India's highest sporting honour, to Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award and accused it of indulging in "political games" with "revenge and malice".
"Major Dhyan Chand could have been honoured without insulting the sacrifice of Rajiv Gandhi. Hindustan has lost that tradition and culture. Today Dhyan Chand must be feeling the same way," it added.
Through its mouthpiece Saamana, Shiv Sena pointed out that an award in the name of the hockey legend already exists and said Major Dhyan Chand could have been honoured without insulting the "sacrifice" of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
Shiv Sena said that at a time when the country is celebrating the "golden moment" in the field of sports due to India's performance in the Tokyo Olympics, "the Central government played a political game. Due to this political game, the many hearts are hurt."
"Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award has been renamed as Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award... Many great players have been given this award till now. But it does not appear that any of them must have said that this award in the name of Rajiv Gandhi is not wanted."
The party raised questions on the government's claim about the name change being motivated by "public sentiment," but added that it is pointless to dispute the claim because Congress also indulged in similar politics during its tenure in power.
"Amit Shah says, conferring the country's highest sporting honour Khel Ratna award in the name of the greatest sportsperson, Major Dhyan Chand, this is a real tribute to him. Everyone associated with sports world must have swelled with pride. Shah's statement is 100 per cent correct. It is pointless to dispute what he said and did directly, because in the last 70 years the Congress government has washed and cleaned whatever Nehru, Gandhi, Rao, Manmohan, Morarji, Deve Gowda, Gujral, Chandrashekhar did. If such a person has a role to play in running the national policy or state, then there is no use in banging his head," Saamna said.
However, the editorial added that "the government cannot be run with the spirit of revenge, malice, this is also a public sentiment and that feeling should also be taken care of."
Shiv Sena noted that the Indian hockey team got a medal in Tokyo Olympics after 41 years, and it is a joy to the whole countrymen.
"This medal is of hockey and Major Dhyan Chand is considered to be the uncrowned king of hockey. Once upon a time, there was a golden age of hockey and Dhyan Chand was the hero of that golden age...The 'Dhyan Chand Lifetime Achievement Award' is given in his name. Dhyan Chand's game had fascinated many," said Saamana adding the names of sporting legends like Milkha Singh, Dhyan Chand which the country could never forget.
The party asserted that Major Dhyan Chand was not forgotten by previous governments and added that by "erasing the name of Rajiv Gandhi, who made the supreme sacrifice for the country, and putting the name of Major Dhyan Chand there, can not be considered great honour of Dhyan Chand."
"It is politics of hatred," Shiv Sena said.
Shiv Sena said that had the BJP government in the Centre announced a bigger award in the name of Dhyan Chand, it would have been applauded.
Further questioning the name change, the party said, "Now the political players of BJP are saying that 'Did Rajiv Gandhi ever hold a hockey stick in his hand?' Their question is valid, but if the Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad was renamed after Narendra Modi, did he achieve any such feat in cricket? Or named the stadium of Delhi after Arun Jaitley. The same standard can be applied there as well. People are asking such questions. Today the administration of sports like cricket, football has gone into the hands of non-players, what should be considered a symptom of this?"
Noting that Dhyan Chand was a big player, Shiv Sena also demanded recognition of players who won individual medals in the Olympics during the "draught of 41 years".
It also accused PM Narendra Modi-led government of "celebrating the Olympic medal today when in the last few years, it has cut the budget of 'Olympics' by about Rs 300 crores."
"Indira Gandhi was assassinated by terrorists. Rajiv Gandhi also lost his life in the terrorist attack. There may be differences of opinion between the two. There is room for differences in democracy, but the sacrifice of the Prime Ministers, who have contributed immensely to the progress of the country, cannot become a subject of ridicule," said Saamana, adding that renaming the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award as 'Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award', would be a "political sport and not a public sentiment."