Chandigarh, Jun 7 (PTI) BJP chief Amit Shah, who was in the city today as part of his party’s ‘sampark Se samarthan’ (contact for support) initiative, met sports legends Balbir Singh Senior and Milkha Singh, who appreciated the steps Narendra Modi government is taking for the betterment of sports in this country.Also Read - Will Not Let Farmers Die by Suicide After April 1, Making Plans For Farming: Kejriwal in Punjab

After a meeting with SAD leaders at the residence of former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal earlier in the day, Shah paid a visit to the Punjab BJP party office, paid obeisance at a local Gurudwara and visited the residences of the two legends. Also Read - Sweet Surprise! Teenager Finds 100-Year-Old Love Letter Hidden Under Bedroom Floor

Before going to 85-year-old ‘Flying Sikh’ Milkha Singh’s residence in Sector 8 here in the evening, Shah visited 94-year-old hockey legend Balbir Singh Senior’s residence in Sector 36 here. Also Read - Captain Amarinder Singh To Form His New Party Ahead of Punjab Polls, Alliance With BJP Likely

At both places, Shah underlined that sports was a focus area of the Modi government.

Creating more and better sports infrastructure, building stadia and giving all facilities which the sports-persons need was high on the government’s agenda, he told them, both legends later said.

Shah also briefly touched upon the achievements during four years rule of the NDA government.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Balbir Singh Senior said he had told Shah that sports budget should be increased and more infrastructure created. Balbir Singh Senior said he expressed happiness before Shah that days of glory of Indian hockey were again returning.

A triple Olympic gold medallist, Balbir Singh Senior, told Shah that this year marked the 70th anniversary of the event when tricolour was hoisted for the first time on August 12 in 1948 in London’s Wembley stadium after India defeated England to win the Olympic gold in men’s hockey. A win in which Balbir Senior played a key role.

The hockey legend told the BJP leader that government should put this event in its calendar of events and hold functions each year to celebrate it.

“If government takes keen interest like this, our sports will touch new heights. Earlier, it used to be about wars, but now fight between the nations is on the sports field. We should create even better facilities for our children in schools and colleges,” Balbir Singh Senior said.

I keep saying that before I die, if India wins the World Cup, I can die in peace, the veteran hockey player said adding he had given some suggestions to Shah on how to take sports to new glory in this country.

Balbir Senior’s family members were also present, including grandson Kabir and daughter Sushbir. Shah who was at his residence for nearly 40 minutes, also watched a short film pertaining to the life and achievements of the hockey legend.

Later, Shah went to meet Milkha Singh, the legendary athlete.

After the meeting, Milkha Singh told reporters that he had told the BJP leader that Modi government was doing a good job in uplifting the sports, which was evident by better results at various national and international events.

He said the main purpose of Shah’s visit was to apprise about the achievements of his government.

“I want to say that ever since India has attained freedom, I have seen every Prime Minister and President, but one thing I want to say is that about Narendra Modi all Indians are so proud and even Indians living abroad have great respect and praise for him. Wherever he (Modi) goes, he extends a hand of friendship,” Milkha Singh said.

Milkha Singh said he told Shah that he was happy that “my (Milkha’s) suggestion of making Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, a sportsperson, as sports minister, was accepted by the government”.

During our meeting, I also suggested that more work should be done to uplift and better lives of the poor in this country, he said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.