Union home minister Amit Shah speaks during the inauguration of Narendra Modi stadium in Ahmedabad on Wednesda...Read More
NEW DELHI: The renaming of the world’s largest cricket stadium in Ahmedabad after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and its inauguration by
President Ram Nath Kovind
in the presence of Union home minister
on Wednesday have come in for widespread criticism from the BJP’s rivals.
The Congress has alleged that the stadium was inaugurated in 1982 when its government was in power and it was named after the country’s first home minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
However, the BJP has defended the decision to name the stadium after PM Modi, stating that the
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel stadium
still exists but in a different location - Naranpura - of Ahmedabad. The
Narendra Modi stadium
was called Motera stadium after the name of the area in which it is situated, it said.
Amid volleys of allegations and attempts to play down the charges whether the stadium was renamed from Motera or Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the fact remains that the Modi government has contradicted its own stand by naming it after the incumbent Prime Minister.
The BJP, whether it was in the opposition before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections or after coming to power, was always against the naming of government schemes, projects and places after the Nehru-Gandhi family members.
During campaigning for the 2014 Lok Sabha, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, who was a senior BJP leader then, had accused Congress of glorifying contributions of one family by giving it credit for everything which took place in the country before and after Independence. The BJP would discuss all issues related to 650 schemes, including rationalisation and christening of these schemes in the name of members of one family, he had said.
In 2015, as Union urban development minister, Naidu, while defending the BJP government’s decision to construct a Statue of Unity in the memory of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, had again hit out at the Congress for naming schemes and structures after a few select leaders.
He had noted that about 450 different schemes, projects and institutions were named after the Nehru-Gandhi family members. There were 12 central and 52 state schemes, 28 sports tournaments and trophies, 19 stadiums, five airports and ports, 98 educational institutions, 51 awards, 15 fellowships, 15 national sanctuaries and parks, 39 hospitals and medical institutions, 37 institutions, chairs and festivals and 74 roads, buildings and places that were named after Jawaharlal Nehru,
alone, he had stated.
Union minority affairs minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, as BJP vice-president in June 2014, had questioned the previous Congress-led UPA government’s policy of naming projects and places after the Nehru-Gandhi family. There could be some schemes in the names of thousands of others like the Nehru-Gandhi family members who had sacrificed their lives for the country, he had said.
Subsequently, the Modi government named several new projects and places after the BJP’s ideologues Deendayal Upadhyay and Syama Prasad Mookerjee and also after Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and former prime minister
Atal Bihari Vajpayee
. Some remained without any name and they just said “Pradhan Mantri (Prime Minister).”
The Congress criticised the BJP government for becoming a “name changer” instead of “game changer”.
But now, by renaming the Motera cricket stadium as Narendra Modi stadium, the BJP government has gone a step further. It has emulated the Congress and done the same thing for which it used to criticise its main adversary all these years.
In the BJP government’s renaming zeal, several projects and places bearing the names of the Nehru-Gandhi family members were changed. For instance, Hyderabad's Rajiv Gandhi Airport was changed to former chief minister NT Rama Rao.
Among the schemes and projects, Rajiv Awaas Yojana was changed to Sardar Patel National Urban Housing Mission, Indira Awaas Yojana to Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana (Gramin), Rajiv Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana to Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojana, Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission to Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation, National Rural Livelihood Mission to Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana.
The Kandla Port was renamed Deendayal Port in October 2017.
The BJP governments in the states also followed suit. The
government in Uttar Pradesh renamed the Mughalsarai railway station to Deendayal Upadhyay station. The Shivraj Singh Chouhan government in Madhya Pradesh launched a subsidised meal scheme as Deendayal kitchen scheme. The ML Khattar government in Haryana installed a statue of Deendayal Upadhyay at the Raj Bhavan in July 2017.
In June 2017, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor had alleged that the BJP had renamed as many as 23 schemes launched by his party. Though Tharoor was wrong while mentioning the number - as names of 19 schemes were changed - his charge was not misplaced.
He said, “Why we in the Congress insist this is a name-changing government, not a game-changing one!”
Why we in @INCIndia insist this is a name-changing government, not a game-changing one! https://t.co/Opdj3n2xaV— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) 1497540108000
The Congress charged that the renaming of the refurbished Sardar Patel cricket stadium in Ahmedabad after PM Modi was "an insult to every single Indian", and alleged that the BJP can never be a "game changer" but can only be a "name changer".
Invoking “Hum do humare do” jibe once again, Congress leader
claimed that truth had been revealed with the stadium having the prime minister's name. In a tweet he said, "Beautiful how the truth reveals itself. Narendra Modi stadium - Adani end - Reliance end. With Jay Shah presiding."
सच कितनी खूबी से सामने आता है।नरेंद्र मोदी स्टेडियम- अडानी एंड- रिलायंस एंडजय शाह की अध्यक्षता में!#HumDoHumareDo— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) 1614173231000
Congress's chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala tweeted, "Proved beyond doubt - BJP can never be 'game changer', BJP can only be 'name changer.''
The BJP, however, sought to defend the inauguration of the stadium after PM Modi’s name. It stated that the sports enclave, as a whole, remained in the name of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.