The state government has dropped Doda villge sports Stadium, Gidderbaha, from its list of venues to host the 4th edition of the World Cup Kabaddi in November. Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal's native village Badal has replaced Doda.
The decision has raised eyebrows as the government has spent 40 lakh over the past three years to make the Doda stadium fit to host matches.
The official reason for the shift in venue is the purportedly better infrastructure at Badal, which was apparently ignored, while including Doda on the venue list, just before the 2012 assembly polls.
The move was then received with sceptism as a political ploy to make sure Punjab People's Party chief Manpreet Badal lost his seat from Gidderbaha. The decision also received flak as Muktsar city already had a stadium, 10 km from Doda.
The Doda stadium has since then hosted kabaddi matches last year and Women's World Cup Kabaddi was inaugurated at the stadium.
The CM had also made it a point to be seen at the Doda stadium with his son and deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal. His photo-op with political rival elder brother Gurdass Singh Badal at the stadium has surpised political analysts.
Critics have alleged that the money spent on the Doda stadium did not improve infrastructure, but ensured that the matches telecast live received a good response.
"I have received information that matches scheduled for Doda will now be organised at the renovated sports stadium at Badal village," said Sukhdev Singh Bhullar, Muktsar sports officer.
On the reasons for dropping Doda, he said: "Doda stadium is flooded. The stadium at Badal village has been renovated recently, hence the decision," Said Bhullar.
"Badals calculated the political advantages of a hosting match at Doda in 2011. This time too, they must have calculated the political implications of shifting the venue to Badal village," said an Akali leader from Gidderbaha.