On any other day, they would be at each other's throats, but today, the ruling and the opposition party legislators were united for a cause: that of encouraging football. In a respite from the hustle and bustle of the monsoon session of the state legislature underway here, the legislators played a football match, in the parking area of Vidhan Bhawan in south Mumbai. Two teams-- the Speaker's Eleven and the Chairman's Eleven-- played the match, with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis inaugurating it.
Both the teams had a mix of ruling as well as opposition legislators. While Fadnavis donned the hat of the match commenator, state sports minister Vinod Tawde was the referee. Fadnavis kicked off the match after the Chairman's Eleven won the toss. The match lasted for an hour and the legislators of BJP, Shiv Sena, Congress, NCP and AIMIM took part in it. Tawde had last week announced that the football tournament for legislators will be organised here, ahead of the FIFA U-17 World Cup. Ten lakh school students in Maharashtra will play football on September 8, ahead of the FIFA U-17 World Cup, Tawde said. The FIFA U-17 World Cup is being held in India from October 6 to 28 this year. "The September 8 event will be part of the Mission Million we are organising to mark the tournament," the minister said. "On that day, the entire Maharashtra will turn into one happy playground," he added. "One lakh footballs have been distributed in one over 30,000 schools in Maharashtra as part of Mission Million," the minister said. "Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for ushering in sports culture in the country and we are organising the Mission Million event in response to his appeal," Tawde said.