Srinagar, Nov 5: Amid the beauty of Kashmir’s first snowfall of the season, there is a sense of excitement of another first.
The Valley will host a top-division game of the I-League – India’s premier domestic football tournament – for the first time when its newly-promoted home club, Real Kashmir FC, takes on Churchill Brothers in Srinagar on Tuesday.
Snowflakes might have kissed the football field of the TRC Turf Ground, waterlogging might have blocked major roads going to the stadium. Yet, these hurdles have done little to pull down the surging anticipation of the Kashmiris.
“I’ve got almost a 100 calls since morning, most of them about people enquiring with the hope that the match is not cancelled,” Sandeep Chattoo, co-owner of the team that was formed in 2016 in the aftermath of the devastating 2014 floods that ravaged Jammu & Kashmir, said.
As per Chattoo, some 10,000-12,000 people are expected to flock the TRC Turf Ground on Tuesday, especially with tickets being free and the fact that Real Kashmir tasted victory in their debut I-League match against holders Minerva Punjab in Chandigarh last week.
“Lots of youngsters, despite the messy weather and waterlogged roads leading to the stadium, are coming to the ground just to find out what is happening and to see their local heroes train.
“This match is something the people are looking forward to, a feeling which is otherwise lacking in Kashmir. We rarely look forward to anything here,” Chattoo said.
Not just fans, the players too can’t wait for the D-Day.
Staying in a hotel owned by Chattoo himself, the local footballers in the team including star striker Danish Farooq are kicked about representing Kashmir in India’s top league in front of their own.
“I have been with them all the time. Be it at breakfast, lunch or dinner, all they are talking is about playing in front of their home fans. You can see the excitement written all over their faces,” Chattoo, a businessman, said.
The basic facilities like dressing rooms and washrooms have just about been completed with rapid efforts over the last two months after the All India Football Federation’s ultimatum to get the ground meet the standards of hosting an I-League game.
“In Kashmir, nothing happens in two months. So, imagine how much everyone wanted to see this happen,” Chattoo said.
“All the departments have pulled in their resources. The divisional commissioner of Kashmir himself is coordinating with various departments to make sure that Tuesday’s match takes place smoothly,” he added.
The club co-owner is confident about that, not just because of the beefed up security but primarily due to the locals’ pure love for football.
“Nobody will want any untoward incident to happen, because they know one goof-up, and everything will be stopped. People know that there will be 10 matches played in Kashmir, so no one wants to lose out on even a single one,” he said. (Courtesy: dnaindia.com)
Clear message to Modi that people are unhappy
New Delhi, Dec 11: Buoyed by Congress’ resurgence, party president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said the assembly poll outcome is a “clear message” to the Modi government that people are not happy with it and time has come for a change while asserting that his party will also win in 2019.
Prime Minister Narender Modi got a massive mandate but refused to listen to “heartbeat of the country”, Gandhi noted, and said there are serious questions being asked about the future of country’s youngsters as there was a sense of discontentment and inability to see the future.
Thanking people and party workers for party’s good performance in three states of Rajasthan, Chhatisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, he said, “It’s now time for change. We are going to provide these three states with a vision for overall development”. However, he added that they would have liked to do better in Telangana.
Hitting at the BJP for its often-stated remark of Congress-mukt (Congress-free) Bharat, Gandhi said,”the BJP has a certain ideology and we will fight against it. We have won this elections, we will also win in 2019. However, we do not want to get rid of anyone, ‘hum kisikomuktnahikarnachahtein’.”
Asked about the selection of chief ministers in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, he said there will not be any issue and it will be done smoothly.
There is a clear message to Prime Minister Modi that people are not happy with his decisions, including demonetisation and those pertaining to farmers and youth, he said, adding the BJP has failed to provide a vision for the country going forward.
Asserting that the process of loan waiver for farmers will start as soon as Congress governments are formed, he, however, said the loan waiver is a measure, not a solution to farmers’ distress.
Gandhi was named to lead the Congress exactly a year ago and took over the charge from his mother Sonia Gandhi a few days later.
Rahul Gandhi also praised Congress workers and likened them to ‘babbarsher’ (lions).
Accept people’s mandate with humility: PM Modi
New Delhi, Dec 11: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday congratulated the Congress, Telangana’s K CHandrashekarRao and the Mizo National Front for their victories.
He tweeted: “We accept the people’s mandate with humility. I thank the people of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan for giving us the opportunity to serve these states. The BJP Governments in these states worked tirelessly for the welfare of the people.
“Congratulations to the Congress for their victories. Congratulations to KCR Garu for the thumping win in Telangana and to the Mizo National Front (MNF) for their impressive victory in Mizoram,” he added.
The BJP has suffered serious reverses in the heartland states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh at the hands of the Congress. In Telangana and Mizoram, its performance has been dismal, despite high hopes of a good showing.
“Victory and defeat are an integral part of life. Today’s results will further our resolve to serve people and work even harder for the development of India,” he said in another tweet
‘Winds of change’ will bring good days to JK: Farooq
Srinagar, Dec 11:National Conference president and former J&K chief minister Farooq Abdullah Tuesday said that BJP’s defeat in the Assembly polls were the “winds of change” that will bring “good days to Jammu and Kashmir.
Exuding confidence that the poll results in five states of India will have a good bearing on all the three regions of Jammu and Kashmir, Abdullah, as per KNS, said: “I believe winds of change will bring good days to the people of Jammu and Kashmir also.”
“Using the name of ‘Bhagwan Ram’ for winning elections has collapsed BJP. People have rejected Mandir-Masjid politics and upheld secular politics in the country. For four years they didn’t remember a temple to be built in the name of “Bhagwan Ram” but in election time they remember ‘Bhagwan Ram’,” he said.
Farooq added: “People have voted against betrayal of promises, be it GST, demonetization or any other policy decision taken during last four years. The value of Indian rupee has gone down, commitment of transferring fifty lakhs in the bank accounts of people and demonetization are the factors that have contributed to the defeat of BJP in the five states.”