Pradeep Pattanayak

The Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress on Monday launched a broadside against the BJD-led Odisha government for organizing a special programme in schools on the Gold Medal win of the Indian Men’s Hockey team in the Hangzhou Asian Games. 

Today, the students of schools across the state heard the success story of the Indian Men’s Hockey team at their Assembly. A message prepared by the state government was read out. Besides, the students also wished the team the best of luck at the Paris Olympic Games. 

Such a programme was organised as per the direction of the Odisha School Education Programme Authority (OSEPA). 

“It is a proud moment for us that our Hockey team won the gold medal in the Hangzhou Asian Games. We hope that the team will repeat the feat in the coming days,” said Rashmita, a student. 

Informing about the programme, State Project Director of OSEPA, Anupam Shah said, “The programme was organised to instil interest in Hockey in students.”

Meanwhile, the programme triggered a political slugfest. 

Taking a dig at the BJD, BJP spokesperson Dilip Mallik said, “It is an old habit of Naveen Patnaik and his government to take credit for the Central government’s programme and yojanas. The party is doing politics by using children and is indulging in false propaganda. For these sports activities going on in the state, the central government is providing incentives to the state. People are well aware of this fact. They (the BJD) can longer cheat the people, not even the students.”

Senior Congress leader Suresh Routray said, “The students should have been taught about Hockey, not about Naveen (CM Naveen Patnaik). The government is using Hockey as propaganda. It is evident that in 2024, the Congress will come to power.”     

When contacted, School and Mass Education Minister & senior BJD leader, Sudam Marndi said, “The Chief Minister is trying to bring the lost glory of the Hockey back and nobody will deny that. We shouldn’t see everything through a political lens.”

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