The job of a good opposition is constructive criticism and reminding the government of its shortfalls at the various steps it takes. This is severely lacking in most of the opposition parties today in India who resort to below the belt methods to show the ruling party in an unfavourable light amongst the masses. In fact, nothing is off limits for these parties which want to do everything and anything to gain political traction. Naveen Patnaik and his party Biju Janata Dal however, cannot be clubbed with these opposition parties even when they are the primary opposition of the Bharatiya Janata Party in Odisha. Naveen Patnaik’s BJD was founded by his father Biju Patnaik in 1997. BJD had won three state elections in 2000, 2004 and 2009 in coalition with the BJP. The coalition was broken off in 2009 by Naveen Patnaik who wanted to contest the 2009 General elections alone. The plan worked well for BJD and they have won many elections countless times. Naveen Patnaik’s recent letter written to PM Modi concerning hockey highlights the kind of politics he wants to engage in.
Dear PM @narendramodi ji, you will agree with crores of hockey loving fans of our country that Hockey truly deserves to be notified as our National Game. This will be a fitting tribute to our great players & inspire youngsters #HockeyForNationalGame 1/4 https://t.co/oTGcrHxO9U pic.twitter.com/X7E7jrlWOo
— Naveen Patnaik (@Naveen_Odisha) June 20, 2018
The letter begins with a salutation to the PM and highlights the importance of an Olympic medal for the country. He explains that the “national anthem being played on the global stage” is a huge thing and the players who make it happen deserve special mention. Indian Hockey team has given many instances for this from the pre-independence era till date. The first time India won a gold medal in Olympics was in 1928 at the Amsterdam in Netherlands. In 1948 Indian hockey team won the London Olympics gold medal for the newly independent country. The Indian team beat the hosts, England, in the final of the 1948 Olympics thereby proving their prowess against our ex-colonisers.
India dominated the international hockey scene upto 1980. Hockey stars from India like Major Dhyanchand and Dhanraj Pillai were world renowned and respected around the globe by fans of the sport. Indians too pinned their hopes on the hockey team and rejoiced with each victory. Hockey was the only consolation for the developing country and millions of its inhabitants for the longest possible time. It remains till date as the “rural urban divide” is non-existent when it comes to the emergence of hockey players from the country. It is a popular sport in almost the whole of India and the Indian hockey team is a proof of that. Women hockey team too is quite competitive and has won many medals for the country.
Naveen Patnaik, in the letter, further states that he was surprised to know that hockey is not the national sport of our country. He came to know of this while reviewing preparations for the World Cup of Hockey which will be held in Odisha in November 2018. He urged PM Modi to declare hockey the national sport of our country ahead of the grand event. Patnaik also made clear that he has no vested interest in this matter but it would be a “fitting tribute” to the numerous great players of the game.
This is exactly the kind of opposition we need in this country. The likes of Mamata Banerjee, Chandrababu Naidu amongst others can learn a lesson or two from Naveen Patnaik. It is in fact very much needed for the Leftist cabal, a matter of national interest being raised by an opposition party leader with no vested interest. That is the kind of political opposition we need in this country and not the loud, arrogant, threatening variety which we have in copious quantities. PM Modi should take this matter into consideration and go ahead with this move as early as possible to give Indian hockey the respect it deserves.
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