Guwahati: Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's meeting with BJP workers on November 30 in Sarusajai Sports Complex here, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Friday directed the Sports and Youth Welfare Department not to allow any "non-sporting activity" in it, prompting BJP to retort that the "same venue was used for the CM's son's wedding."
The war of words began after the Chief Minister asked the Sports Department not to accord permission to any political party/organisation/individual to hold any "non-sporting" activity in the main stadium area of Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium.
BJP national Vice-President and Guwahati MP, Bijoya Chakraborty said, "Non-sporting events have taken place in the stadium. Tarun Gogoi's son's wedding reception was held in the stadium (last year). Gogoi had addressed a children's Day function there recently".
"We sought permission for holding the meeting, made the necessary payments and completed all the required formalities. We all know what kind of meeting and functions have been held in the stadium earlier. Why trigger a controversy now? ", Union Sports Minister Sorbananda Sonowal also told reporters.
In response to the BJP's charge, the state government clarified in a statement this evening, it would not disallow the holding of a political meeting by the BJP, for which it had already given permission.
The clarification came in the wake of Gogoi's earlier directive asking the department not to allow non-sporting activities in the main stadium in future.
The government statement further said, the marriage reception of Gogoi's son had been held at the Nabin Chandra Bordoloi Indoor Stadium of the Sarusajai Sports Complex." (Whereas).... "the Sports and Youth Welfare Department had been directed not to allow any non-sporting activity at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in near future".
"The Department has to ensure that the (stadium) playground is in good condition and it should not allow non-sporting activity that might cause damage" to the turf, the statement added.
"The directive from the chief minister has been issued to the department so that the playing arena is not damaged. The state has already spent crores for repairing and maintenance of the stadium", the statement said.