Narendra Modi impressed with Sarbananda Sonowal's performance as sports minister at time of state polls
Sarbananda Sonowal is the favourite to become Assam's new chief minister.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday praised union Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal for discharging his ministerial duties despite being busy with Assam assembly elections.
Modi appreciated the minister for paying a surprise visit to National Institute of Sports (NIS) in Patiala, where the athletes were preparing for the Rio Olympics. The games are due to take place in Brazil in August this year.
"In this regard, I want to appreciate Sarbananda Sonowal. In the poll season, he went to NIS-Patiala for a surprise visit," the prime minister said in his 21st radio address 'Mann Ki Baat'.
Sonowal was declared the chief ministerial candidate by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) before the Assam assembly polls were held on April 4 and 11.
"There were polls; he was a CM candidate but Sarbananda Sonowal performed his duty as a sports minister. This is a big thing," said Modi.
"Everybody was surprised and noted how a union minister showed so much concern. It gave immense pleasure that he went to NIS-Patiala even before the election results were out without informing anybody," said Modi.
The BJP and its allies won the elections in Assam, ending 15 years of Congress rule.
In his words of encouragement for the athletes, Modi said: "It is essential to be positive about our athletes. Let us not worry about the results."
"When we talk about the Olympics, we do feel sad over the medal tally. But we need to create the right atmosphere to encourage athletes," he added.