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FanSpeak: Indian Political League

New Delhi: The FanSpeak article of the week speaks about the political wrangles that led to the IPL moving out of India. In an article aptly titled The Indian Political League, the author Mahesh Sethuraman says "any talk of separating cricket from politics in India is living in denial of reality".
Politics and BCCI have never been far away. To move Jagmohan Dalmiya out, it required a man of Sharad Pawar's political Stature. Lalit Modi's nexus with ex-Rajasthan chief minister is too well known. And a lot of the state cricket associations' office bearers are affiliated to various political parties as well. So any talk of separating cricket from politics in India is living in denial of reality.

After weeks of ping ponging with the government, the BCCI has finally acted decisive or is it blackmail? Despite preparing nearly 50 possible schedules as alternatives to factor in almost all possible scenarios, IPL officials could not get the government to give a clear go ahead for the second edition of IPL.

Along the way Maharashtra government announced their support to hold IPL in Mumbai with modified schedule and withdrew soon, Political parties expressed his interest to utilise IPL slots for election campaign advertising until Lalit Modi said no to any political advertising in IPL and in the meanwhile Lalit Modi lost a none too irrelevant election in Rajasthan Cricket Association. No wonder that IPL venue for Rajasthan Royals was shifted even before election security issues cropped up.

So what's the real issue here? The rhetoric of "which is more important to the country – Elections or IPL?" hardly makes sense. Does the EPL stop when there are elections in England? No, so why should it be a problem here. But that's because EPL doesn't ask for paramilitary forces from the government to be able to conduct its tournament. So once the IPL has asked for it (sad after effects of Mumbai attack and more importantly the recent attack on Srilankan cricketers in Pakistan), they have no choice but to work around the government’s constraints (however real or unreal they maybe).

It all looks fine so far. So isn't taking IPL offshore the most sensible solution albeit all the compromises involved. But it's fine only if there is nothing more to it than what meets the eye. But that's hardly a convincing hypothesis. Surely there seems to be political power play at work. BCCI was either too ignorant or too arrogant to not figure out that the Pakistani attack had huge ramifications on IPL and that coupled with the announcement of election schedule should have ensured they were working with the government from the early stages to sort out the security arrangements. But they were busy assuring the media that India is a safe country and it'll go ahead as per schedule and presumed it's their birthright to ask for paramilitary forces for security support.


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