At the entrance gate of the stadium in Motera which has been renamed as Narendra Modi Cricket stadium. (Photo: Nirmal Harindran)
Controversy erupted over the issue of naming Gujarat Cricket Association’s (GCA’s) cricket stadium in Motera as Narendra Modi Cricket Stadium on Wednesday with Congress leaders accusing the ruling BJP of “erasing history” and “insulting Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel” by renaming the stadium. It was earlier called Sardar Patel Stadium.
Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel rebutted the allegations saying that the Congress was unnecessarily spreading rumours.
Gujarat Congress leaders, including state president Amit Chavda and working president Hardik Patel, criticised the alleged renaming of the stadium and added that people of Gujarat will not tolerate such attempts by BJP to erase Sardar Patel from history.
Chavda took to Twitter and said, “In the times of Congress, Ahmedabad cricket stadium’s name was clubbed with the name of Sardar Saheb which is now being changed to Narendra Modi Stadium and Gujarat will not tolerate such ‘gustakhi’. This is insult not only of Sardar Saheb, but also of Gujarat. In the arrogance of power, BJP people are trying to erase the history.”
Hardik Patel tweeted, “Name of Ahmedabad-based world’s biggest, Sardar Patel Cricket Stadium, has been changed to Narendra Modi Stadium. Is it not an insult of Sardar Patel? The BJP which seeks vote in the name of Sardar Patel is now insulting Sardar Saheb. People of Gujarat will not tolerate insult of Sardar Patel.”
President Ram nath Kovind and Union Home minister Amit Shah at the inaugural function of Narendra Modi Cricket Stadium in Ahmedabad on Wednesday. (Photo: Nirmal Harindran)
In another tweet, Hardik wrote, “Bharat Ratna Sardar Patel had imposed a ban on RSS (Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh). And therefore, RSS followers are making every possible attempt to delete his name (from history). External friendship, but enmity within, that is the conduct of BJP towards Sardar Patel. Remember one thing, Hindustan will not tolerate insult of Sardar Patel.”
Strongly refuting the Congress allegations, Deputy CM Nitin Patel said that the Motera Stadium has now been named as Narendra Modi Stadium and that a stadium by the name of Sardar Patel is still there in Naranpura area of Ahmedabad.
Patel said, “Today is a day of pride for the country. It is world’s biggest stadium… This cricket stadium has been built by GCA which was till now known as Motera Stadium… That stadium has been named as Narendrabhai Modi Cricket Stadium by GCA today.”
Patel said that union Home Minister Amit Shah has played an important role in demolition of old stadium at Motera and building this huge stadium with all modern facilities.
“Leaders of Congress, without any research, without any understanding, are looking at this historic moment with criticism when Sardar Vallabhbhai Sports Complex is being built where youth of Gujarat and entire country will get Olympic level, Asiad level, Commonwealth level training/coaching… Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s name is clubbed with that complex and it is being criticised. World’s biggest cricket stadium is being clubbed with Narendra Modiji and it is also being criticised,” Patel said.
Patel said that Sardar Patel Stadium in Naranpura area of Ahmedabad is owned by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, adding that the GCA had built a stadium in Motera. Modi, when he was GCA president, decided to demolish it and to build an international level stadium.
“Today, the work has been completed, President has dedicated the same (stadium) and the first test between England and India has begun…. It is unfair that Congressmen are unsuccessfully and unnecessarily trying to spread rumours… I want to tell them, you may get it researched, Motera Stadium was known as Motera Stadium only in the past… And Sardar Patel Stadium is owned by AMC… It does not have capacity/facilities to hold international matches…,” Patel said adding that its name was changed to honour the unique personality of Narendra Modi.
For the development of the Sardar Vallabhbhai Sports Complex, Patel added, union sports ministry has made provision of Rs 250 crore in this year’s budget. “So, the (Narendra Modi) stadium will come under the umbrella of Sardar Vallabhbhai Sports Complex,” Patel said.
Alleging that the Congress has only given credit to Nehru-Gandhi family, while doing injustice to a number of national leaders, including Sardar Patel, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, Subhash Chandra Bose, Veer Savarkar and Bhagat Singh, Patel said the BJP has made the world’s tallest statue — the Statue of Unity — in Kevadia to honour Sardar Patel.