Guwahati: Declared as an Event of National Importance, the Khelo India 2020 launch ceremony will witness the absence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday. Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju said that the PM has turned down the invite because of lack of time.
The launch of Khelo India Youth Games is to be held on Friday in Guwahati in Assam. Meanwhile, the state is dealing with flared situation with protests against the government's amended citizenship law going on for weeks.
The Prime Minister has informed the Sports Ministry and the Assam government that he will not be able to attend the opening ceremony of the event.
Assam Bharatiya Janata Party spokesman Dewan Dhurba Jyoti Maral said, "PM Modi's visit is cancelled. The state government approached him but he could not give time."
The Assam government also asked the Home Minister Amit Shah for the same but he also turned down the invite.
Around 6,800 athletes are expected to participate in the third edition of the Khelo India 2020 games and the government has declared it as the event of national importance.
When asked about PM Modi's absence from the games, Union Sports Minister Kiren Rajiju said, "Our Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that the Khelo India Games is not just an event, it is a movement. Promoting sports and fitness among the youth and sensitizing parents to motivate young athletes to pursue a sporting dream is a first step towards making India a sporting superpower. The Khelo India Games being declared events of national importance is a significant step towards achieving that goal."
The state of Assam is gripped with the protests against the CAA and NRC and student bodies like All Assam Students' Union (AASU) and North East Students' Union (NESO) have warned government representatives including the PM and the UHM that they would have to face opposition from the students anywhere in the northeast.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to India in December 2019 was also called off following the cancellation of the annual summit between the two PMs, in Guwahati, due to protests.