The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today lambasted new Congress Sports minister Rana Gurmeet Singh Sodhi for assassinating the mother-sport of Punjab by announcing to end all government support to Circle Style Kabaddi and termed it as the biggest disservice to Punjab and Punjabis worldwide.In a statement here, former minister and Punjab Kabaddi Association president Sikander Singh Maluka said one could understand Rana Sodhi’s sense of jealousy and pique against the Kabaddi World Cup which was the brainchild of SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal and has taken Kabaddi to 25 countries across all five continents. “However the Sports minister has announced on the first day of taking over his new charge that Circle Kabaddi does not have anything to do with the Punjab Sports department and will not be included in the Sports department calendar any longer”.Stating that Rana Sodhi did not seem to know anything about Punjab’s sporting tradition and culture, the Akali leader said the minister should know that Circle Kabaddi was the sport of choice of thousands of youth in Punjab. “All our rural melas host Circle Kabaddi tournaments. It is because of the vast number of talented Circle Style Kabaddi players that the World Kabaddi Cup which was started in 2010 has become such a big success. Circle Kabaddi is popular in Pakistan as well as Sri Lanka and Nepal and is now played in Africa, Australia, Europe and America”.
Mr Maluka said the new Sports minister even did not seem to know that the Sports department has always supported Circle Kabaddi. “The Sports department has given recognition to Circle Kabaddi. It is in the gradation list for admission in colleges and professional institutions and also for award of government jobs. By removing Circle Kabaddi from the Sports calendar Rana Sodhi proposes to destroy the future of thousands of youth. We will not allow this to happen and will oppose this perfidious conspiracy tooth and nail”.Asking the new Sports minister to brush up his facts about Sports due to his long absence from this field, Mr Maluka said Rana Sodhi should know that the Sports department supports Circle Kabaddi in its Wings and even gives youth refreshment allowance. “Circle Kabaddi tournaments are held at the State and national level. Recently a national Circle Kabaddi tournament was held in Chandigarh in which Punjab boys and girls emerged victorious. Does the new Sports minister want to ruin the future of these youth who have excelled in Circle Kabaddi by ending the mother sport in the land of its birth? He asked.