Dismissing reports that a state minister has been appointed as the new president of the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA), chief minister Virbhadra Singh today said his government would soon appoint an administrator to look after the sports body.
"The government would appoint an administrator to run the affairs of the state cricket body soon. Later, elections would be held for all sports bodies in the state in a transparent and democratic manner," the chief minister told reporters in Hamirpur.
Singh alleged that sports bodies were "hijacked" by the BJP during its tenure and its leaders turned "these associations as their own household societies", affecting the prospects of the locals players.
The chief minister said there was no question of converting the Dharamsala cricket stadium into a multi-purpose games stadium and added "the cricket stadium has its own identity which would not be changed." Singh denies charges of discrimination against Hamirpur in respect of development and said successive Congress-led governments have ensured all-round development of the district.
The chief minister said the BJP was levelling such allegations only to draw media attention. Meanwhile, Congress today upped the ante against BJP over the controversy surrounding the HPCA, led by BJP MP Anurag Thakur.
The activities of HPCA had been under suspicion since the beginning but "contradictory and confusing" statements by BJP leaders clearly exposed the controversial deeds, state Congress president Sukhvinder Singh Sukkhu and vice-president Harsh Mahajan told reporters in Shimla.
"It is a paradox that the BJP leaders are claiming that government has taken over the public properties of the HPCA while the sports body and its president Anurag Thakur have been pleading that it was property of a Company," a statement by the leaders said.
Alleging that Anurag was not giving full facts about the HPCA and its transformation from a Society to a Company, the Congress leaders asked the BJP to ascertain the status of the sports body instead of blindly defending the HPCA.
Disclosing that the HPCA registered as a Society, and got about 450 kanals of prime land worth hundreds of crore of rupees from the government despite the fact that cricket was not included in the 16 games recognised by the government, Sukkhu and Mahajan said the land was leased to the society for promotion of cricket and not to constitute a company for construction of five-star hotel and restaurant.