Row as Patel stadium renamed after Modi

Oppn terms it ‘insult’ to leader; govt defends move

Row as Patel stadium renamed after Modi

President Ram Nath Kovind and Union Home Minister Amit Shah with captain Virat Kohli at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. PTI

Tribune News Service & PTI
Ahmedabad, February 24

In a controversial development, the reconstructed Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera, near Ahmedabad, was rechristened as Narendra Modi Stadium. The cricket stadium, which is now the world’s largest having a seating capacity of 1,32,000, was inaugurated by President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday.

Soon after the inauguration, social media was flooded with remarks, including by leaders of the Congress and other parties, who termed the move as an “insult” to Sardar Patel.

World’s largest with 1.32L seating capacity

  • Built at a cost of Rs800 crore, Narendra Modi Stadium near Ahmedabad is now the world’s largest cricket stadium with 1.32 lakh seating capacity
  • The venue is spread over 63 acres comprising 11 pitches and possessing a unique system that helps drain the wet ground in 30 minutes

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor tweeted: “Maybe they just realised the stadium was named after a Home Minister who had banned their parent organisation! Or is this the beginning of a legacy-creation-through-labelling spree?”

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, without directly talking about the stadium, tweeted a Hindi quote of Sardar Patel.

Hitting back, the government released a list containing names of 22 sports stadia, a national sports award (Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna) and 17 tournaments and trophies named after late Jawahar Lal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.

Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju said the list of national institutions and complexes named after the Gandhis was “very long”. Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said only the Motera Stadium had been renamed and the complex continued to be named after Vallabhbhai Patel.

Earlier addressing the gathering after the ceremony, the President said: “The vision to build such a world-class stadium was set when Narendra Modi was the Chief Minister of Gujarat.” He said good sports facilities and performance in this field were the yardsticks of a nation’s development.

He along with First Lady Savita Kovind also performed the bhumi pujan of the upcoming Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Sports Enclave. The facility will have a cycling velodrome, aquatic centre, indoor sports centre, tennis centre and an athletics-cum-football stadium. Located at the Sabarmati riverfront, the multi-sports facility will also include hotels, retail and food courts.

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