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Jan 26, 2010 at 12:13pm IST

Hockey India takes on Sports Ministry

New Delhi: The battle lines seem to be hardening in Indian hockey and the boxing match seems to have now become a street fight.

Hockey India General Secretary Narinder Batra has accused the Union Sports Ministry of encouraging groupism and creating pressure on them to affiliate Punjab Association for the elections.

The latest salvo came from Batra who aimed his guns at former hockey team skipper Pargat Singh.

“Unfortunately I have to say that Sports Ministry of Government of India is actually acting like Sports Ministry of Government of Punjab. In no other state unit, they have shown such interest. They need to clarify how they want to handle sports," says Batra.

It is very rare for a sports federation in India to take on the Sports Ministry and sources say this means the behind the scenes MS Gill versus Suresh Kalmadi battle is out in the open.

The Ministry has been keeping a close eye on the goings on in Hockey India and has pulled up the body on more than one instance for attempting to manipulate the election process.

Elections have to be clean, clear, visible to every body, fair and acceptable to India not to me personally. It should be in the interest of the country, sport, and players,” says Gill.

Batra didn't spare Pargat who on Sunday had taken on Indian Olympic Association President Kalmadi for allegedly interfering in the elections.

“My assumption is that it is all Pargat’s frustration. I could be wrong. He thought the best thing to do would be to abuse Kalmadi and then negations will start,” claims Batra.

The scheduled elections on February 7 have been deferred following a ruling by the Jaipur High Court.

But that has not stopped the jousting parties and the Sports Ministry response will now be keenly awaited on this one.