Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures during an election campaign rally ahead of Assembly polls in Hisar district of Haryana on Friday

DW BUREAU / Gohana

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said his government was focussed on identification of merit and eliminating nepotism in sports, whereas the previous Congress-led regimes only “harvested the produce of scams”. Addressing a rally here in Sonipat district in the run-up to the October 21 Haryana Assembly polls, he said, “Our jawans and sportspersons gave historic performances in the Commonwealth Games, which were hit by scams earlier (during the UPA rule) and brought disgrace. The question is, what change has been brought now?” The prime minister said the sportspersons were the same, their abilities were the same, rather the competition had become stiff, but the difference was that after 2014, the BJP-led governments had changed the situations.

He said whether it was the government at the Centre or in Haryana, “we only changed the situations, while the sportspersons were the same. We focussed on identification of merit and eliminated nepotism. We did not allow politics in it. We brought transparency and gave enough opportunities to budding sportspersons”. “It is the result of that. When we trust our sportspersons, they live up to their expectations,” Modi added. “Along with an economic superpower, we want to make India a sports powerhouse,” he said. Pointing out that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was making as many sportspersons as possible stakeholders in politics and national policy, Modi said, “The famous wrestlers whom we have fielded in the “dangal” (poll arena) is a result of that thinking only.” The BJP has fielded two wrestlers in the Haryana polls — Yogeshwar Dutt from Baroda in Sonipat and Babita Phogat from Dadri in Charkhi Dadri — and former Indian hockey team captain Sandeep Singh from Pehowa in Kurukshetra. Hitting out at the Congress, the prime minister said under the “misgovernance” of the opposition party, neither the interests of the jawans and farmers of Haryana nor that of our sportsmen was safe.

(editor@dailyworld.in)

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