The Curious Case Of Politicians' Love Affair With India's Cricket Associations

Indiatimes

Indiatimes

Author 2019-10-03 12:19:15

Cricket and politics in India have a relation that goes way back in time - it's a union reminiscing of a husband-wife vows - inseparable and immortal.

The game of cricket finds its unequivocal acceptance and frenzy in every part of India - it captivates all, including those who are decision makers of the country - politicians. The love affair between cricket and politicians is a tale like no other.

From the likes of Amit Shah to Sharad Pawar - politicians across party lines have been at the helm of cricket affairs and have been running various cricket boards. Nationalist Congress President Sharad Pawar was the president of Board of Control For Cricket in India (BCCI) from 2005-2008.

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In 1980s, the then Editor of The Times of India, Girilal Jain, famously wrote that in India, politics sets the pace and everything else follows in its wake. Indian sports associations have always been at cue of the politics.

India's twin obsessions - cricket and politics always find a common ground - and seem to be twisted by faith and put in each other's path. From north to south, east to west - cricket associations have a political connection.

Take our capital's cricket body, Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA), former Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was at the helm for 14 years from 1999-2013. The tenure was riddled with corruption and the late BJP leader was in the firing line in 2015, but he denied any wrongdoing.

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The corruption is unabated and has always been talked about, but little has come off that. The political nexus continues to wrap cricket around itself and this association has not been contested - how can it when the powerful political leaders are the ones running the show.

The country's current Prime Minister too has enjoyed a different role, when he was elected the President of Gujarat Cricket Association in 2009. It was only after he was elected the Prime Minister in 2014, that he quit his role.

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But his top lieutenant Amit Shah took the reigns from him and just recently stepped down from the post. His son Jay Shah who was joint secretary of the association also stepped down. While no replacements have been announced yet, it won't be surprising if a politicians gets the role.

The rampant political influence on cricket has become normalised - and politicians enjoys the perks of heading the sports bodies. If one was to talk about the extent of politicians in sports bodies - it will have to cut across each state association.

The likes of Anurag Thakur, Farooq Abdullah, and many other big-name politicians have served as the president of cricket associations.

It's an affair that continues to only grow stronger - and a union that seems to be for ages.

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