'I was hoping...': Digvijaya leads Congress' charge over renaming of Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award

Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi, too, demanded that the government restore the original name of the Narendra Modi Stadium.
Veteran Congress leader Digvijaya Singh (File Photo/HT)
Veteran Congress leader Digvijaya Singh (File Photo/HT)
Published on Aug 06, 2021 05:37 PM IST
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By | Written by Karan Manral, New Delhi

Congress leader Digvijaya Singh on Friday took a dig at prime minister Narendra Modi over the rechristening of Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, tweeting that he expected PM Modi to rename the award after himself, “just like he did with Sardar Patel Cricket Stadium in Ahmedabad.”

“First, Ahmedabad’s Sardar Patel Cricket Stadium was renamed as Narendra Modi Stadium. I was hoping that he (PM Modi) will rename Rajiv Gandhi Khel Award after himself. I was shocked when he named it after Major Dhyan Chand,” a rough translation of Singh’s tweet, posted in Hindi, read.

However, Singh was not the only Congress leader to make this analogy. Lok Sabha MP Gaurav Gogoi, too, demanded that the Narendra Modi Stadium be restored to its original name after Sardar Patel, the country’s first home minister. “Major Dhyan Chand has inspired many young Indians. Our current Olympic teams will continue to bring the necessary attention to Hockey. I hope the government will also award the Bharat Ratna to Major Dhyan Chand,” Gogoi posted on Twitter.

Earlier, PM Modi took to Twitter to announce that the country’s highest sports award is being renamed after legendary Hockey player Major Dhyan Chand. “I have been getting requests from many citizens across India to name the Khel Ratna Award after Major Dhyan Chand. Respecting their sentiment, the award will hereby be called the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award. It is fitting that our nation’s highest sporting honour will be named after him,” the prime minister had tweeted.

The announcement was made just hours after the Indian Women’s Hockey team finished fourth in the ongoing Tokyo Olympics, going down 4-3 to 2016 gold medallists Great Britain in the bronze medal clash. If successful, this would have been the team’s first-ever Olympic medal. On Thursday, the men’s team had defeated Germany 5-4 to finish third, clinching its first Olympic medal in 41 years.

The Khel Ratna Award was instituted in 1991-92, and named after former PM Rajiv Gandhi. The refurbished Narendra Modi Stadium, meanwhile, was inaugurated in February this year. With a seating capacity of more than 130,000, it is the world’s largest cricket stadium, surpassing Australia’s Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).

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