The Chief Minister of Odisha, Naveen Patnaik, is a gem of a politician. He is not only suave and erudite, but also has his mind and heart at the right place.
The contribution that he has made to the rise of hockey in India is unparalelled. He came out to support and sponsor Indian hockey when it was in tatters.
It only helped that Naveen Patnaik had also been a hockey player in his school team. His love for the game saw him extending unwavering support to the men’s and women’s hockey team.
Odisha is the only state that has sponsored any national sports team. It sponsored both men’s and women’s team for five years. The 140 cr deal between the state of Odisha and Hockey India was signed soon after Sahara withdrew from sponsorship.
Odisha also hosted the men’s hockey World Cup and it helped a lot. The state is also building India’s largest hockey stadium in Rourkela and will again host World Cup in 2023.
Success in international sporting arena is not a whimsical by-chance event. It takes years of planning, hard work and rigour to match and reach international levels of excellence.
That Naveen Patnaik, a politician, had the sagacity to step in to help hockey at a time when it needed help the most, is heart warming.
Odisha is having a tremendous impact on hockey. Several of its districts are now coming up with sporting facilities and hockey has become so popular in some areas, like Sundergarh, that these are now being called cradles of hockey.
We are only seeing the results of his sagacious foresight.
And it is also heart-warming to see players themselves acknowledge his immense contribution in the rise of hockey in India.
One only hopes that other politicians too will absorb some of his suave sagacity and do something worthwhile that can help the country in the long run.
Naveen Patnaik has a firm grip on Odisha’s politics. He leads a regional party. However, he never indulges in jingoism and has never felt the need to try name-calling or get into a blame game.
He works quietly and gets the best deal for his state and his people. And whenever required, he also chips in to help the country.
Naveen Patnaik, undoubtedly, is one of the best politicians that we have today. A politician who is admired by people cutting across party lines.
If only we had a few more of such politicians.