Guwahati: A war of words has erupted over the proposed venue of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's public meeting with party workers in Guwahati on Sunday.
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Friday directed the state Sports and Youth Welfare Department not to allow any "non-sporting activity" at venue - the Sarusajai Sports Complex - prompting the BJP to retort that the "same venue was used for the CM's son's wedding."
The Chief Minister had 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 the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, inside the Complex.
BJP national Vice-President and Guwahati Member of Parliament 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".
Union Sports Minister Sorbananda Sonowal also addressed the issue, telling media personnel, "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".
On Friday evening, the state government issued a statement, clarifying that it had already given permission for the meeting.
The government statement further stated that 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," it said.
"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.
Recently, BJP President Amit Shah had been denied permission by various city agencies to hold a rally at the heart of Kolkata on Sunday. The BJP had moved the Calcutta High Court, which allowed the rally, but asked the party to "comply with statutes" of the city's civic body and fire brigade.