Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju backs Dhoni on Balidaan Badge controversy
Rijiju further said that the BCCI should keep in mind the interests and emotions of the Indian citizens.
Updated - Feb 17, 2020 7:22 pm
With the controversy over MS Dhoni wearing a special pair of gloves in India’s opening game against South Africa in Southampton snowballing further, it is time for the Union Sports Ministry to stand by the veteran. Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju has spoken out on the matter and said the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) should back the ace wicketkeeper-batsman.
Rijiju, a politician from Arunachal Pradesh who took over the charge on May 30 when the new government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge, refused to acknowledge that the matter is anything about politics.
‘Dhoni’s identity is country’s identity’
“I am hopeful that BCCI will take up this matter with ICC and will solve this matter. Dhoni’s identity is the country’s identity, the army’s identity and it is not politics. So, BCCI should stand with Dhoni,” Rijiju was quoted as telling reporters.
The minister though clarified that the government doesn’t meddle with the affairs of sports bodies. He said the BCCI or any sports federation are autonomous bodies and they conduct their affairs independently.
The controversy started after Dhoni was seen donning gloves bearing an army insignia in India’s opening game against South Africa. The regimental dagger insignia is called the “Balidaan Badge” and it is of the Indian Para Special Forces.
Rijiju further said that the BCCI should keep in mind the interests and emotions of the Indian citizens while taking up the matter with the ICC and forward their views in the right manner.
“The incident that took place during the World Cup is a thing related to India’s reputation, I want to say that BCCI, on their level, should take up the matter with ICC and keeping Indian citizen’s emotions in mind, they should put forward their views properly. I would like to request BCCI to take up the matter with ICC properly and if necessary inform the government accordingly,” he said.
The Committee of Administrators (CoA) that runs the BCCI has also backed Dhoni and sent a request to the ICC to allow the Indian cricketer to continue playing with the logo on his gloves. Dhoni as conferred an honorary rank of Lieutenant Colonel by the Indian Territorial Army in November 2011, months after he won the country their second 50-over World Cup.