The war of words over the sports bill escalated on Friday with the ruling Congress party accusing the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party of having given preference to cricket instead of other sports that were still popular in the rural areas of the state when it was in power. State Congress party chief spokesman Naresh Chauhan said the other objective of the bill was to free sports associations from political control.
"The bill aims to end the monopoly of politicians who were using these bodies for their personal gain, which would give a chance to their office bearers to work without any political interference. However, judging by the statements made by various BJP leaders, it appears they consider cricket as the only sports. On the other hand the state government has introduced the legislation to promote all sports and work for the welfare of athletes of rural sports of the state such as 'kabaddi' and volleyball. The BJP should spell out why it has been opposing the sports bill," Chauhan said at a press conference here.
"The BJP should tell people what was wrong in the sports bill that was table with the objective of bringing transparency in the functioning of sports bodies. It will now be mandatory for sports associations to hold regular elections and elect office bearers for a fixed term, and only state residents would have the right the vote. Further, these elections would be held in an independent and not a nominated manner. In addition to this, audit of sports bodies will also be conducted every year," he added.
Chauhan accused BJP MP and HPCA president Anurag Thakur of "using" the cricket body for "political gains" and also questioned his motives for registering the association first in Kanpur and then later converting it into a company. "At the time of registration of HPCA as a company, Thakur become its president and his younger brother Arun Dhumal vice president and then chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal was nominated as chief patron while Thakur appointed his friends residing in other states as lifetime members," he said.
HPCC to oppose Land Acquisition Bill
Chauhan also said around 5,000 Congress party workers would attend a protest rally at the Ramlila ground in New Delhi on April 19 to protest against the Land Acquisition Bill. Earlier the Congress led central government had passed a bill that was approved by the BJP also but now the latter has taken a sudden about turn on the issue.