Pradeep Pattanayak

The Odisha's BJD government has once again been accused of hijacking Centre’s plan.

Taking a swipe at the state government for announcing ‘Football for All ‘on the same day when the Centre launched ‘Football for School’, the Bharatiya Janata Party( BJP ) said the BJD dispensation should refrain from copying schemes from the Centre. 

The Centre will include 700 districts under its ‘Football for School’ yojana and provide 100 balls each to 10,000 schools. The yojana will run by the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA), UNESCO, in partnership with the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and with the support of Ministry of Education and Sports and the department of Sports and Youth Affairs. Navodaya Vidyalay Samiti will implement the yojana. 

The objectives behind this yojana are to keep students fit and encourage football at the ground level. 
On the other hand, the state government launched ‘Football for All’, on the day when the central government launched the yojana. 

Under the state government’s yojana, a whooping 43,000 footballs will be distributed among 2,000 schools across the state. The yojana will be implemented by FIFA, the state government and a private educational institution. 

The football politics has brought the BJP and BJD face to face, with each one trying to take the credit. 

“The state government is copying all the yojanas of the central government. The central government has launched the yojana for the development of football in schools. So there is no need at all for the state government to launch a similar programme at the same time. The state government should refrain from such things,” said BJP general secretary Prithviraj Harichandan

BJD legislator Sashibhushan Behera said, “In my opinion, there should not be politics over sports. We shouldn’t divide our players for our politics for credit.”

On the other hand, the Congress launched a broadside against both the parties. 

“While more than half of the total schools are devoid of infrastructure for football, the two parties (BJP and BJD) are doing politics over the game,” said Congress MLA Suresh Kumar Routray.

On the other hand, an unusual scene emerged at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar yesterday when FIFA Women’s U-17 World Cup was inaugurated. Four union ministers Dharmendra Pradhan, Anurag Thakur, Nisith Pramanik and Kiren Rijiju attended the event. 

It is discussed that because the state government had the mileage of 2018 Hockey World Cup, the four ministers joined the event to have a share in the credit for the centre. 

“There shouldn’t be politics over sports. But as elections are ahead, both the state and centre have started a politics over credit,” observed senior journalist Sandeep Mishra.

(Reported by Harihar Chand from Bhubaneswar)