A battleground to settle political scores?

While athletes were winning medals and accolades at the Grewal Sports Stadium,the venue of the four-day Kila Raipur rural sports festival,it served as good hunting ground for politicians...

Written by Sharat K Verma | Kila Raipur | Published: February 16, 2009 3:03:45 am

While athletes were winning medals and accolades at the Grewal Sports Stadium,the venue of the four-day Kila Raipur rural sports festival,it served as good hunting ground for politicians,who had gathered here to play political games ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

The sports festival which concluded today,saw top leaders across party lines,including SAD President and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal,who turned up at the venue to gain political mileage.

Though the sports festival opened on February 12,it was formally inaugurated the next day by the former Punjab Cabinet minister Bikram Singh Majithia. The following days also saw top SAD and Congress leaders thronging the stadium including Punjab PWD Minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa,and other local SAD leaders.

Besides the ruling alliance leaders,senior Congress leaders,namely AICC spokesperson Manish Tiwari,Kila Raipur MLA Jassi Khangura and other local Congress leaders also visited the stadium.

Using the venue for their benefit,these leaders also took a dig at their opponents.

Speaking on the occasion,Sukhbir Badal held the previous Congress government responsible for not generating the required electricity for the state. He said the present state government would make state power self-reliant in the coming years.

An office-bearer of the organising committee of the rural games,requesting anonymity said that to seek financial help,they invite political leaders.

Two years ago,in the 2007’s edition of the Kila Raipur games,the organisers had not invited any politician to the 72nd edition of the Festival as the assembly elections were round the corner and the organisers did not want to make it a political battleground. But in the past,Union Cabinet ministers,Sunil Dutt and Mani Shanker Aiyer had been invited to the games.

Former international hockey player and chief coordinator of the games,Sukhvir Grewal said,“This year we did a balancing act by inviting leaders from both sides.” He,however,declined that leaders had been invited to seek financial support.

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