Is BJD trying to promote ‘brand’ Naveen through Hockey World Cup?

Bhubaneswar: While the entire State is abuzz with the Men’s Hockey World Cup, Opposition parties have alleged that the ruling-BJD is leaving no stone unturned to promote ‘brand Naveen’ in the garb of the mega sporting event.

The Opposition parties alleged that the ongoing men’s Hockey World Cup in Odisha has become a promotional event for the BJD leaders and they are just engaged in promoting the image of their party president and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

It is also alleged that the special arrangements that were made yesterday for the live telecast of the inaugural ceremony of the World Cup in almost all the districts across Odisha, is a political stunt of the Naveen-led BJD government to woo voters ahead of the 2019 elections.

Many believe that rampant percentage commission (PC) practice in government works in the State and the hooliganism by the Biju Yuva Vahini have tarnished the image of the CM; and so, the BJD sees the mega event as a good opportunity to makeover and restore the clean image of Naveen.

“The BJD has made the championship a party affair and is indulged in political campaigning through the event. It’s unfortunate,” said Union Minister Jual Oram.

Similarly, senior Congress leader Sura Routray said “What type of game is going on… only propaganda. It’s all just a waste of money. As elections are on the cards, the BJD is trying to take political mileage and this is not a new thing.”

However, BJD spokesperson, Pratap Deb said that the Opposition parties’ comments over the event have exposed their intolerance.

“They (Congress and BJP) would have never thought that Odisha government could organize such a mega event. Their comments reflect their jealousy and intolerance,” Deb said.

On the other hand, resentment was seen among a few as no Odisha players, who have brought laurels to the State by representing the country at the international level, were neither invited nor felicitated during the inaugural event. Many even pondered whether it was a ‘Bollywood Night’ or a Hockey World Cup inauguration.

Brahma Mishra, organiser of rural hockey tournaments, said: “We couldn’t see any of Odisha players, who have generated the wave of interest for the game in the State. We didn’t even find a single picture of Dilip Tirkey, Ignesh Tirkey or Rajesh Barla. It has disappointed all the hockey lovers here.”

Senior journalist Debendra Prusti said, “Players here have become famous due to their performance; what can such programmes do for them? Either they (Odisha players) were neglected or the organizers had no idea about them.”