Congress MP from Kerala K Suresh has said that changing the name of Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award to Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award is ‘unfortunate’. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had earlier announced that the name was changed since citizens across the country had requested him to that effect.
It's unfortunate. Rajiv Gandhi was PM, he led the country into the 21st century. He encouraged sports, youth. This Govt wants to saffronise & that's why they gave another name: Congress MP K Suresh on Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award renamed as Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award pic.twitter.com/xDisFicFIf— ANI (@ANI) August 6, 2021
K Suresh said, “It’s unfortunate. Rajiv Gandhi was the Prime Minister. He led the country into the 21st century. He encouraged sports, youth. This Govt wants to saffronise and that’s why they gave another name.”
It isn’t clear how changing the name of the sports honour to Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award is ‘saffronization’. It’s only infinitely more likely that the Congress MP is sad and angered by the fact that the name of Rajiv Gandhi has been removed from the title of the award, an honour he did not deserve in the first place.
K Suresh had earlier incurred the wrath of Congress supremo Sonia Gandhi after taking oath as an MP in Hindi. She wanted him to take oath in Malayalam. He was also spotted laughing in the Parliament when Prime Minister Modi took a ‘tube light’ jibe at Rahul Gandhi.
The Khel Ratna Award is the highest sporting honour in India. Until now, it had been named after Rajiv Gandhi, former Prime Minister of the country and the son of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
Major Dhyan Chand is one of the greatest hockey players in the history of the game. He led India to three consecutive Gold Medals in Hockey in 1928, 1932 and 1936. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian honour, in 1956.