Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday announced that his government had decided to rename the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award to Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award.
Modi said in a series of tweets, “I have been getting many requests from citizens across India to name the Khel Ratna Award after Major Dhyan Chand. I thank them for their views. Respecting their sentiment, the Khel Ratna Award will hereby be called the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award! Jai Hind!”
He added, “Major Dhyan Chand was among India’s foremost sportspersons who brought honour and pride for India. It is fitting that our nation’s highest sporting honour will be named after him.”
Eagle-eyed Twitterati were quick to detect the deliberate attempt by Modi and his BJP colleagues to not any reference to Rajiv Gandhi even though the highest sporting award was previously named after the former prime minister.
However, former Gujarat Chief Minister Shankersinh Vaghela detected glaring hypocrisy in the prime minister’s statement since, not too long ago, a stadium named by India’s first home minister, Vallabhbhai Patell, was named after Narendra Modi himself.
Vaghela tweeted, “As @narendramodi Govt renamed Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award to Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award, I would like to request them to rename Narendra Modi Stadium to Sardar Patel Stadium again.”
As @narendramodi Govt renamed Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award to Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award, I would like to request them to rename Narendra Modi Stadium to Sardar Patel Stadium again. pic.twitter.com/w1ccKacK4b
— Shankersinh Vaghela (@ShankersinhBapu) August 6, 2021
Modi has chosen the perfect time to remove Rajiv Gandhi’s name from India’s highest sporting honours. India is busy celebrating the successes of the men’s and women’s hockey teams at the Olympic games. While the men’s hockey team have won their first Olympic medal in 41 years, the women’s team had qualified for the semi-finals in Tokyo for the first time in the history of the modern Olympics.