BJP demands Aiyar's resignation for hockey failure

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New Delhi, Mar 11 (UNI) The BJP today demanded the resignation of Union Sports Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar for the poor show of the Indian hockey team by failing to qualify for the Olympic Games for the first time in 80 years.

The Minister should own the responsibility for the team's inability to qualify in the Olympics itself, BJP Parliamentary Party spokesman Vijay Kumar Malhotra said.

He, however, remained elusive on the question whether the party also demanded the resignation of the Indian Hockey Federation chief KPS Gill, the post he was holding for more than a decade, saying it was for the federation to take a decision.

But as far as Mr Aiyar was concerned, he could not get away from his responsibility on the plea that Government had no say in the selection process. The team became official only after a three-member government panel vets the selection giving official status for the team in any international tournament. India's failure was a 'national shame' for the Hockey team which had done the country proud winning gold eight times in the past, he said.

He accused the government of not allocating much money to the sport and putting Hockey in the second priority list of sports.

''The results are visible,'' he said, pointing to the provision of Rs 30 crore in the budget for the game.

He wondered how the Government thought of giving less priority to Hockey when the 2010 Commonwealth Games were being held in India which had been known for its hockey skills.

UNI KAS-MCN PK HS1654

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