Rajnandgaon:Bizarre though it may sound but the sitting Congress MLA from this constituency, Uday Mudaliar, has raked up the neglect of budding hockey players by his opponent and Chief Minister Raman Singh as one of the main election issues.
Rajnandgaon, which borders Maharashtra, has produced several hockey players at the national level and even boasts of an Olympian. With the locals love for the national sport it is little wonder that Mudaliar is espousing this cause to win against the BJP chief ministerial candidate who is fighting from the constituency.
"One of our hockey players, Mrinal Chaube is in the national hockey team. Raman Singh kept announcing that he will get astro turf for the local stadium but as chief minister he never made any efforts," Mudaliar said, when asked to enumerate the issues on his agenda.
It is obvious Mudaliar, who has won this seat in 1993 and then in 2003 and is in the fray for the fourth time, is aiming at the sizable chunk of young voters.
"The likes of Nayan Mongia, Virendra Sehwag and Gautam Ghambir had praised the cricket stadium on their visit but the chief minister has not done anything for it either," he adds.
The love for hockey comes across when one interacts with locals. "I still remember hockey legend Dhyanchand had come here when I was a kid and said that he was amazed at the enthusiasm for hockey here," said Vijay Jha, a local.