Kolkata: The inaugural ceremony of the 4th National Panchayat Yuva Krida Aur Khel Abhiyan (PYKKA) on Wednesday witnessed political overtone with around 1,000 members of the karate-do contingent displaying cutouts of chief minister Mamata Banerjee during the march-past, causing embarrassment to the organisers.
During the opening ceremony of the four-day games at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Salt Lake organised by the Bengal Olympic Association, the Bengal contingent of karate-do which was included as a demo sport, instead of holding their unit`s flag entered the march-past arena holding cutouts of the chief minister and the sports minister Madan Mitra, something that caused a flutter here.
The Bengal Olympic Association secretary, Kamalesh Chatterjee said it could have been avoided on a sports field.
"It`s a national meet. The karate unit brought out cutouts of the chief minister and sports minister with `dynamic leader Mamata Banerjee` written under it. By doing this we spread a wrong message to the other participating teams," Chatterjee said.
He however said the karate-do team had assembled from far-flung districts and it was purely emotional.
"I know there was no political colour it and it was just out of strong emotion. But we could have avoided it on a sports arena."
Defending the act, the West Bengal Karate-do Association president Premjit Sen said that they were not a games discipline and were invited here as a demonstration team for the opening ceremony.
"Let me clear it out that we were not part of the march-past as we were not competing here. Since it was a demo sport, the contingent showed their emotion for our state leader by bring her photos," Sen said.
"If somebody is hurt by this, I would like to apologise hundred times. But we were not directed by anybody or any political party," he said.
Bengal are hosting five disciplines of the national meet of PYKKA, a central sponsored scheme of the Ministry of Youth and Affairs to tap talents from village Panchayat.
After the Kolkata leg which will see athletics, volleyball and taekwondo competitions, Siliguri will host the second and final leg in Bengal with kho-kho and kabaddi competitions.