Ahmedabad, Feb 25: Amid allegations that the BJP is trying to erase Sardar Patel's legacy by renaming a cricket stadium in the city after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the ruling party claimed the freedom movement icon's name was never associated with the stadium in question.
According to Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, a newly-built stadium in the city, inaugurated on Wednesday, was known by the area where it is located (Motera) and this arena has been named after Modi.
Another cricket stadium, "Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium", is situated in the Naranpura area of the city, the BJP leader said.
"This whole allegation that the name has been changed is unfair and unfounded. The Sardar (Vallabhbhai) Patel Stadium is situated in Naranpura and owned by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation.
"However, it's no longer viable for international- level cricket matches," Nitin Patel told reporters in Gandhinagar.
"This stadium (the new one) is owned by the Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA) and it was always known as the Motera Stadium. So there is no question of renaming it now.
"It was Narendra Modi, who had first floated the idea to demolish the old stadium and build a new one when he was the GCA president," said Nitin Patel.
He said the Narendra Modi Stadium in Motera, inaugurated by President Ram Nath Kovind, is part of a larger complex, named 'The Sardar Patel Sports Complex".
Notably, as per the BCCI website, the name of the cricket stadium was the "Sardar Patel Stadium".
As per the "About Narendra Modi Stadium" section of the website, "Sardar Patel Stadium is one of the Premier cricket stadiums of India located in Motera, Ahmedabad. Built on the banks of the Sabarmati river in the outskirts of Ahmedabad, the stadium was established in 1982."
Earlier in the day, Gujarat Congress president Amit Chavda slammed the BJP over the issue of naming the stadium after Modi.
"The original stadium was built during the Congress rule in Gujarat and named after Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. It was always known as Sardar Patel Stadium.
"This renaming is an attempt to erase Sardar Patel's name. People will not tolerate this insult of the great leader," Chavda told reporters. - PTI