BJP wants Aiyar to go over hockey debacle

March 12th, 2008 - 5:14 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of P. Chidambaram

New Delhi, March 12 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Wednesday sought the resignation of Sports Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar over the failure of the Indian hockey team to qualify for the Beijing Olympics. Blaming Aiyar for the poor state of affairs in Indian hockey, V.K. Malhotra, the BJP deputy leader in the Lok Sabha, said: “He must resign. We demand his resignation. It is a matter of shame that for the first time in 80 years, Indian hockey team did not qualify for Olympics.”

The matter came up during discussion on the general budget initiated by Malhotra.

Malhotra also chided Finance Minister P. Chidambaram for allocating only Rs.30 million in the budget for the Indian hockey team to take part in national and international tournaments.

“Hockey is our national game and the minister must revise the allocation,” he said.

Aiyar said Monday that while the Indian failure in Chile to qualify for the Olympics had saddened him, the government had no control over the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF). India lost to Britain 0-2 Sunday in the finals of the Olympic qualifiers.

“The IHF is governed by its rules and we have no role in their functioning. The appointment and removal of the IHF president is in the hands of the members who have a vote,” he said.

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