Former Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi on Friday flayed the state government for not creating sports infrastructure in the state despite promoting it as the sports capital of India.
Welcoming the participants of the Khelo India Youth Games, Gogoi said the mega event is happening in Assam only because of the infrastructure created during his tenure as chief minister.
In 2007, during Gogoi’s second term as a chief minister, the 33rd National Games of India was held from February 9 to February 18 in 2007 in Guwahati. Congress president Sonia Gandhi inaugurated it at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium here.
The prestigious sport event was held in some 16 sporting venues, most of which were newly constructed then, including Sarusajai sports complex, where the opening ceremony of Khelo India Youth Games was held on Friday.
Mocking the current state government’s failure in creating any new stadium or infrastructure in the state, Gogoi said, “Where would have the ruling government hosted the Khelo India Games if these infrastructure were not built in our regime? I am happy that the Khelo India is happening here. But it’s sad that the (Sarbananda) Sonowal government could not even build a single new stadium or sports venue. He was also the Centre’s minister of states for sports but what sports infrastructure he brought to the state whereas he keeps saying that he is going to make Guwahati, the sports capital of India?”
The former chief minister also tossed the same question to the present minister of state for sports Kiren Rijiju and asked, “How many stadiums have Rijiju built in the region? This government is only good in bluffing. From finance to jobs to development, everything has only on a declining trend in the Modi government regime.”
On Friday, though Prime Minister Narendra Modi was expected to inaugurate the Khelo India Youth Games, the Prime Minister did not visit the state. Earlier, All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuva Chatra Parishad (AJYCP) and 30 other indigenous groups had announced that the Prime Minister would face massive protests if he turned up to inaugurate the Games.
They warned that the Prime Minister cannot receive a warm welcome after pushing the state into a crisis by bringing in the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
In February last year, when the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) was first tabled, Modi, during his visit to the city, was shown black flags by AASU activists.
AJYCP general secretary Palash Changmai said they would chant — Khelo India, Bhago Modi — slogans to greet the Prime Minister if he would have visited Assam to inaugurate the youth games here.
However, state finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Thursday said the Khelo India opening ceremony was never in the Prime Minister’s schedule.
On Friday, Sonowal said, “I urge all sections and everyone to cooperate with the state government in organising this mega sports event. Let sport help create a disciplined, healthy and ideal society.”
Over 6,000 athletes are participating in the event which will be on till January 22.