Leaving behind political rivalry,Chief Minister Narendra Modi and Union Minister of State for Mines Dinsha Patel showed their sportsmanship as the national sub-junior aquatic championship got underway here on Sunday.
Referring to Modi in his welcome speech as the chairman of All Gujarat Swimmers Association,Patel said,Aap aaye bahaar aayi (Your presence has graced the occasion).
Senior Congress leader Patel,who represents Kheda parliamentary constituency,had contested against Modi from Maninagar in the 2007 Assembly elections. But after five years,when elections are just around the corner,the minister displayed his sportsman spirit. I am thankful to the Chief Minister that he took out time to attend a sporting event, Patel said.
Modi reciprocated saying,It is great that your organisation has organised such a good event.
The two seemed unaffected by the ongoing campaigns against each others parties in the run-up to the Assembly elections and were seen sharing some light moments on the dais.
In their speeches,both leaders emphasised on importance of sports in life. Twice I could managed a escape death only because I know how to swim, said Patel.
Modi said his government was giving importance to promote sports and sports tourism in the state. Sports is one of the biggest industries,with business running into trillions of dollars and Gujarat is keen to promote sports tourism by hosting maximum number of sport events, he said.
Over 600 swimmers from across the country,including two from Rajkot city and total 17 from Gujarat,are participating in the competition.