36th National Games set to be postponed?

Image: Indian Express

2019 being an important year for the functioning of the country’s democracy given the fact that it is an election year, it might result in the 36th National Games getting postponed this year. It is, presently, scheduled to be held in Goa in March. However, imposition of the model code of conduct in the state for the upcoming Assembly by-elections and the Lok Sabha Polls may result in a rescheduling of the National Games as reported by IANS.

The State Secretary for Sport and Youth Affairs J. Ashok Kumar has reportedly conveyed the same to Indian Olympic Association (IOA) Chief Narinder Batra saying that while Goa is committed to playing the host, the enforcement of the model code of conduct would be a major obstruction to the same.

“Goa has two assembly by-elections in February/March for which the model code of conduct is likely to be imposed soon,” the letter, written on Jan 9, said.

Election Commission of India’s (ECI) Model Code of Conduct is a set of guidelines issued by the ECI for conduct of political parties and candidates during elections mainly with respect to speeches, polling day, polling booths, portfolios, election manifestos, processions and general conduct. This is mainly issued with a view to avoid communal clashes in the middle of important elections.

Following the Assembly by-elections, the months of April and May would see the state under the Model Code of Conduct due to the Lok Sabha elections in those months.

“Thus the state would be facing a peculiar situation, where the entire state machinery will be involved in conducting the polls from February till May.

Since the proposed dates for the Games coincide with the election period, this will definitely have an impact on the conduct of the Games,” the letter included.

While no concrete decision on this has been made at the moment, the postponement of the National Games remains a realistic possiblity.