Debating India
Home page > Public directory > Social and Economical Issues > Pawar must take more interest in cricket

Pawar must take more interest in cricket

Monday 4 December 2006, by NEHRU*Arun

Events in Uttar Pradesh will dominate the political agenda and both the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party will attract attention. And this is exactly what has been happening in the past week. The first salvo comes from the Supreme Court on the Taj Corridor case. The CBI, under political direction, moves the court to exonerate Mayawati, and for this takes the assistance of the attorney general. All this is done in spite of the fact that every senior officer associated with the case had recommended the prosecution of the BSP leader.

The Supreme Court refuses to close the case, but will the UPA government charge sheet its potential ally in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Uttaranchal? Or will it apply the law of "delay"? I don’t think that the BSP leader will be too worried, unless the Supreme Court gives a time schedule and the SP presses for an early resolution.

Mayawati is the supreme leader of the BSP and has a five per cent national vote. I doubt if any political leader in the Congress, the BJP or the Left will have the nerve to lecture her on the issue of corruption.

The Supreme Court bench comprising Justice S.B. Sinha, Justice S.H. Kapadia and Justice D.K. Jain made some very hard comments about "politically motivated" decisions and it would be interesting to see the reaction of the UPA and the CBI in the matter.

My assessment is that Mayawati will take the "assistance" being offered to her by the Congress, but will never agree to a pre-poll alliance. Based on the numbers she will give support in the three states of UP, Punjab and Uttaranchal. The Congress, in the current situation, is in no position to expedite the case against Mayawati, and I think the next hearing on the case will be of interest to all political parties.

The SP is not far behind in terms of public and media attention, as Amar Singh escorts the entire Bachchan family and Aishwarya Rai to the Kashi Vishwanath temple. There is little doubt that Amitabh Bachchan is a living legend and son Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai are at the top of the popular ratings, and Jaya Bachchan, MP, is not far behind in the celebrity circle.

The Bachchans are very much the first family in terms of public and media attention, and while they were on a personal mission, the fact remains that their presence in UP helps the Samajwadi Party’s Mulayam Singh and Amar Singh. The Congress, by senseless vendettas against the family members of Mulayam Singh Yadav and tax probes against the Bachchans has only complicated issues for the future. Sonia Gandhi made the mistake of initiating action against Jaya Bachchan on the office of profit issue and lost her Cabinet status in the bargain. Her resignations and renunciation had little meaning as her options were limited, and had she not resigned, she would have suffered the same fate as Jaya Bachchan’s.

The SP has bounced back, and for this, all credit to Mulayam Singh and Amar Singh. There are few secrets in politics, and unless Sonia Gandhi, Rahul and Priyanka step out into the political arena in UP, there will always be a question mark on their ability to wage a political warfare and emerge victorious at the ballot. Dynastic succession does not guarantee continuity or political longevity, and in the end, ability and knowledge of things Indian matter. Regional parties are gradually prevailing because regional leaders win on their own ability and charisma. Central parties are losing out because they do not have leaders of stature. Coalition politics reacts to numbers, and in UP, the battle is between the SP and the BSP. The BJP comes into the frame thanks to the Congress’ appeasement of the "minorities." But it is the SP that benefits in all this.

We have a raging controversy over the performance of the Indian cricket team. In this, the head must prevail over the heart. We love our cricket and many do not have to play cricket to be knowledgeable about the game. Members of Parliament have every right to criticise and give their comments on the situation. The public is disgusted with matters on and off the playing field, and I think Sharad Pawar (Union minister and MP) has to take a greater interest in the game and think beyond the millions and billions involved, the money that all of us are contributing. The blame must lie with the BCCI, its officials and the coach.

We all have some knowledge of the game, so are unable to understand the logic of certain statements and actions by the officials. V.V.S. Laxman with several centuries to his credit is declared "fit" for the Tests but "unfit" for the One-Day Internationals and is now sent to South Africa as Rahul Dravid breaks a finger!

Dilip Vengsarkar - who was a great player - selects Wasim Jafar on his technique and ability, but he gets out for a duck in the first game played and is then dropped.

Then Dinesh Kartik gets a game and I wonder why he is in South Africa. Did we need a second wicketkeeper when Rahul Dravid was there?

Look at the way in which Irfan Pathan, our most talented all-rounder, is being sent "up and down" the batting order and "in and out" of the team.

Why was Zaheer Khan sent into retirement?

There is the case of Virender Sehwag (again up and down the order) and the continuing failure of both Muhammad Kaif and Ajit Agarkar, but they continue to play. Clearly, we cannot blame the team, but we have created a very messy situation for the World Cup.

Large sums of money are involved for the players and it is unfair to blame them for becoming advertising stars.

I think Sharad Pawar needs to spend a little more time by getting involved with the game. He should not allow himself to be pushed around by either the officials or the coach.

We have a superb team and it will bounce back, but will BCCI politics allow this to happen in the immediate future? The success of the current BCCI team will be determined by performance, and not by the billions it collects as advertising revenue as we approach the World Cup.

The coach had "hurt" his finger in Kolkata and is advised to keep his cool, as everyone has the right to express one’s opinion. He should avoid further injury in the future.

Arun Nehru is a former Union minister

See online : Asian Age

SPIP | template | | Site Map | Follow-up of the site's activity RSS 2.0