Khel Ratna Named After Dhyan Chand: BJP Hails PM Modi, Congress Says 'Surprised'
Digvijaya Singh took a dig at PM Modi, saying he was surprised he named the award after Dhyan Chand and not himself.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday, 6 August, that the Khel Ratna award would be named after Major Dhyan Chand. Earlier, the award was named after former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.
Several Union ministers thanked PM Modi and welcomed the decision.
Taking to Twitter, Home Minister Amit Shah wrote: "Naming the country's highest sports honor 'Khel Ratna Award' after the greatest sportsperson, Major Dhyan Chand, is a true tribute to him.”
“This decision makes every person associated with the sports world proud, I congratulate Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on behalf of all countrymen," he wrote.
Shah added, “I have full faith that the 'Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award' will inspire every sportsperson in the country by the dedication of hockey magician Dhyan Chand towards the nation, his determination to raise its honour and his historic achievements, to raise the tricolour in the sports world to the top”.
Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Anurag Thakur said that Major Dhyan Chand gave a new identity to India on the world stage with his extraordinary game and became an inspiration to countless players and thanked PM Modi for his decision.
Union Minister Bhupender Yadav called it a "wonderful decision".
Minister of State Jitendra Singh thanked PM Modi for "fulfilling a long-standing wish of millions of Indians".
Bengal BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari called it a "great initiative".
BJP leader and former Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje wrote that the decision, "which enhances the prestige of the sports world, has made everyone proud".
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that the decision would go a "long way in fulfilling the aspirations of a New India".
Opposition Slams Decision
Congress leader Digvijaya Singh took a dig at PM Modi, saying he was surprised that he named the award after Major Dhyan Chand and not himself.
Meanwhile, Congress MP K Suresh called it "unfortunate".
"Rajiv Gandhi was PM, he led the country into the 21st century. He encouraged sports and youth. This government wants to saffronise and that's why they gave another name," he said, according to news agency ANI.
Maharashtra Congress President Nana Patole also slammed the Modi government for its decision, saying that the move reflected the BJP and RSS’ "hatred" for members of the Nehru-Gandhi family, reported news agency PTI.
Major Dhyan Chand was one of India's greatest sportspersons of all time. He was a vital cog of the Indian hockey team that won three consecutive gold medals at the Olympic Games, from 1928 to 1936. He scored over 400 goals in his career.
(With inputs from ANI and PTI.)
Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.