After a spat between the Army and the Himachal Pradesh government on control over Annandale ground here, BJP today sought to distance itself from the controversy saying it was a "closed chapter".
BJP national general secretary JP Nadda and co-incharge of party affairs for Himachal Pradesh Shyam Jaju, who were here for a meeting of senior leaders, decried the "sinister moves" of some elements to agitate a "non-issue" and said the Annandale was "a closed chapter" for the party which has full respect for the Army and faith in it.
Addressing a press conference after the meeting of the MLAs and ministers, in which senior most party leader and party Vice President Shanta Kumar was conspicuous by his absence, they attributed the unpleasant happenings and sharp reaction of the chief minister over the statement reportedly issued by the Western Command as a "natural response to efforts made to tarnish his image".
Replying to a question, Nadda said successive state governments have been asking for control of Annandale ground after the expiry of the lease 30 years ago but the state government never denied its use by Army for strategic purposes.
He claimed the chief minister or the state government never moved any case to convert the ground into a cricket stadium and described the signature campaign to get back the ground as a move by some local sports enthusiasts.
When pointed out that the memorandum in this regard was submitted to the chief minister by BJP MP and president of BJYM, Anurag Thakur, President of Hiamchal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA), he said politics and sports activities should not be intermingled.