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Politicians ‘hijack’ cricket:Ten politicians and businessmen heading state associations in India

Dailybhaskar.com | Last Modified - Mar 27, 2014, 07:31 PM IST

A large number of Indian cricket associations are headed by political leaders in the country.
  • Politicians ‘hijack’ cricket:Ten politicians and businessmen heading state associations in India
    Politicians ‘hijack’ cricket:Ten politicians and businessmen heading state associations in India
    New Delhi: On Wednesday, the honourable Supreme Court of India asked BCCI President N Srinivasan to step down to enable an impartial inquiry into the allegations of spot-fixing in Indian Premier League matches.

    The order has once again forced cricket lovers across the country to ask the all-pertinent question- Why are Indian sports bodies under the control of politicians?

    Reprimanding the sports bodies for their shoddy performance, in December last year, the apex court had demanded that the sports bodies should be headed by sportsperson only and not by politicians.

    Alleging that politicians heading the sports bodies are 'misusing' their position, the Court had said, "Politics has taken the game of hockey to abysmal low. Earlier India used to win gold medals but now we are struggling to qualify. Sports bodies should be headed by sports-persons...not by businessmen."

    A large number of sports bodies in the country are headed by politicians with scant knowledge of the game. Their experience, or rather lack of it, has often raised question marks over their ability to run the sports affectively. It has often been found that the politicians have ‘used’ the post, meant for the betterment of the sport, to promote their own selfish interests.

    Almost every state cricket board in the country is being 'looked after' by a political leader or a businessman. For example, Jagmohan Dalmiya who is businessman from the city of Kolkata was responsible for looking after Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) and has been the president of BCCI and ICC. He is also the co-owner of ML Dalmiya and Co. - a major construction firm started by his father.

    Dalmiya's only tryst with cricket came during his college days when he played for cricket clubs (including his college cricket team) in Calcutta. Soon after, he joined his father's firm.

    The much acclaimed Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) was presided over by Bjp leader Arun Jaitley for a span of 13 long years, until he chose to step down in December last year, sighting busy political commitments. A commerce graduate and a lawyer by profession Jaitley's association with the game has been limited to administrative level only.

    Sharad Pawar is another name in the long list of political leaders holding high administrative posts in sports bodies. He too, like others, started his career in politics and with the passage of time used his influence to acquire the coveted post of the president of BCCI and ICC. Needless to say, the veteran leader has never taken a guard in front of the stumps.

    Rajiv Shukla started working as a journalist in early years of his career. His hard work and dedication made him a prestigious member of the Rajya Sabha club. He was elected as the member of RS in 2000 and went on to become the Chairman of the highly-popular Indian Premier League (IPL).

    He was also the secretary of Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association and manager of the Indian National Cricket Team. In 2011, Rajiv Shukla was appointed as the chief of IPL at the BCCI AGM. Rajiv's appointment comes after Chirayu Amin's decision to step down. He was reappointed as IPL chairman in 2012.

    An entire book can be written about controversies shrouding Bihar Cricket. Three bodies have tangled for the control of cricket in the state. Bihar Cricket Association (BCA), Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB) and Association of Bihar Cricket (ABC) are in a legal battle over the issue of affiliation with BCCI.

    The BCA- the main body recognised by the BCCI was led by former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav. The Association of Bihar Cricket and Cricket Association of Bihar on July 11, 2012 charged the Yadav of committing financial irregularities to the tune of Rs. 5 million, which the BCCI had granted for development of the game in the state in 2008.

    It appears, the entire Himachal Pradesh sports administration is being look after by a single man- Anurag Thakur. He is the member of Lok Sabha from Hamirpur constituency in HP. He is the son of former Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh Prem Kumar Dhumal.

    Thakur became the youngest person to become the president of Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association. He went on to become youngest selector at the age of 26 years in the year 2001 to select Indian Junior Cricket team. He also held the post of the President of State Rifle Association.

    General Secretary, Himachal Pradesh Olympic Association, General Secretary, Hockey Himachal Pradesh, Executive Member, India Olympic Association and Joint secretary, BCCI are some of the other post he is accredited with.

    Rajashtan Cricket Association was initially headed by Lalit Modi, after his ouster CP Joshi held the reigns of cricket in the state. Joshi is a Congress Party leader. The leader has held several key portfolios during the tenure of UPA government led by the Congress Party.

    He was the former Railway Minister, minister of road and transport and the minister of panchayat raj. He started his career when he was elected as the president of the student union of Mohanlal Sukhadia University.

    Even Gujarat Cricket Association is being looked after by the chief minister of the state, Narendra Modi, who is also BJP’s prime ministerial candidate for the Lok Sabha Election.

    National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah is another political leader who has held on to the post of the president of the Jammu and Kashmir State Cricket Association.

    Cricket bodies have been held hostage not only by political leaders but by various heads of the corporate world. N Srinivasan is considered to be one of the most influential names in the world cricket. Having lead India to one of its greatest glories in the world of cricket, the BCCI chief was recently accused of one of the biggest fixing scandals in Indian cricket history.

    N Srinivasan is a science graduate and holds masters in science degree from Illinois Institute of Technology. With absolutely no experience in the cricket arena, Srinivasan’s contribution in the field of cricket is purely administrative.

    The Managing Director of India Cements, Srinivasan was elected to be the president of BCCI and hold several key positions in Indian cricket administration. He is also the president of Tamil Nadu Cricket Association, Tamil Nadu Golf Federation and All India Chess Federation. His company, India Cements, acquired the IPL franchise Chennai Super Kings.

    In India, head of state cricket association has become merely a customary designation without any accountability. At the end of the day, it is the game that suffers as political leaders with absolutely no expertise have been allowed to hijack the game.

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