IPL and General Elections go hand in hand!



Left: Yusuf Pathan, Right: Kirti Azad. Source: X

What is the relation between cricket and politics? No, one is not talking about politicians who have headed the BCCI, from Sharad Pawar to Arun Jaitley, or respected Rajeev Shukla continuing to be a part of the establishment for so long.

Yes, cricket and politics have meshed, so much so, that with the General Elections for the Lok Sabha starting on April 19 and ending on June 1 for 543 Lok Sabha seats, it overlaps with the Indian Premier League (IPL). There have been references to the IPL with a dual meaning – Indian Premier League and Indian Political League. However, dual has become duel as well, what with at least 10 cricketers having been part of politics and contested elections, be it for the Lok Sabha or State Assemblies.

The beauty, now, is, the General Elections will commence soon and cricket’s IPL is also on, with no conflict. It is to the credit of people managing the show, of which the Central and State Governments are an integral part, that elections and IPL will take place without any worry.

Rewind to 2009, the second edition of the IPL, the tournament was shifted to South Africa. It made no sense, really, for such a shift. But then, in these 16 years, everyone has realised the importance of IPL as a domestic cricket brand which needs to be there at home.

The cricket buff watches IPL action and gets an incredible high, be it 549 runs being scored in one match between Sunrisers Hyderabad and RCB. At the same time, one must realise, that cops in Bengaluru would be over-stretched trying to provide security cover to cricket plus the netas campaigning. A few seasons ago, some had suggested the IPL needs to find private security to host matches. Would that ever have been possible? No chance, for the IPL is not just about one match in a stadium. The logistics involved plus fan security and transport is a whole labyrinth, which cannot be managed by private security alone.

The good news, netas are happy to campaign even as marquee cricketers are plying their trade. A city like Kolkata, which loves, fish, football, cricket and politics in equal measure, consumes all, happily. The average Bengali babu loves to chat and discuss all this over a half cup of tea. So does a Madrasi in Chennai or Tamil Nadu as they discuss CSK plus parties in fray, notably DMK and its rivals.

In Bengal, Mamta Banerjee and the TMC party are a strong force, and she has also shown her love for cricket. After all, there are photos of her at the Eden Gardens with Shahrukh Khan for company in the past. This is the blend, politicians like cricket as well, which Late Arun Jaitley would have vouched for. After all, someone like Gautam Gambhir, who has now quit politics to join KKR again, was considered a protégé of the late Jaitley. He decided to walk away from politics recently, even though he is a sitting MP.

And how can even one forget Sharad, one-time Maratha strongman who headed the BCCI and was also in the ICC in a big role. It just goes to show, cricket is loved by all. So, if General Elections and the IPL 2024 are overlapping, that’s brilliant.

To be sure, both involve some charisma and rhetoric. One explanation why cricketers stepped onto the political turf is they wanted to express themselves. Late Chetan Chauhan, a BJP MP was respected in politics as well. The collar-up former India captain, Mohd Azharuddin has been with the Congress, though he lost in the Telangana Assembly elections a few months ago.

Navjot Sidhu had been a vocal MP as well, but realised his time as a neta was over. Sidhuism is back on air, and he is enjoying his commentary stint on the IPL. Maybe, this generation of cricket fans would not know even Late Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, Tiger for old timers, also dabbled with politics.

In this General Elections, a few well known names are in fray. Kirti Azad, a member of the 1983 World Cup winning has changed political parties like IPL teams and wants to fancy his chances! The latest, being Kirti, originally from Bihar but brought up in New Delhi and having studied in the respected St Stephen’s College, will now contest in Bengal. He has joined the TMC party and will be contesting from Bardhaman-Durgapur. Kirti has changed colours, as in political parties from BJP to Congress and now with Didi.

TMC seems to be the flavour, for it has attracted Yusuf Pathan from Gujarat. He will contest from Berhampur against seasoned politicians. Kirti has always been vocal, always called a spade a spade. That he has been a part of Indian politics for so long is proof, cricketers do have a political career. As for Manoj Tiwary, who played for Bengal and India, he is part of the Mamta Cabinet.

If many cricketers are in national and state politics, why would they want the IPL to have been played outside India. It is no coincidence politicians have done a good job of even having been part of state cricket associations. It’s no secret, the Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA) has seen Narendra Modi and Amit Shah as Presidents in the past. Today, BCCI secretary Jay Shah holds an important position, even as Ahmedabad’s pride, the Narendra Modi Stadium is described as a modern-day marvel for its 360 degree viewing.

Indeed, as IPL 2024 peaks and the General Elections commence and then results come out, we will hear few phrases like swing, underdog, winner and beaten! Still want to know why IPL 2024 is on in India when political fever is also in the air?

Also Read: Public acknowledgment and trust: How ‘Guru’ Gambhir turned Sunil Narine into a beast again

The post IPL and General Elections go hand in hand! appeared first on Sports News Portal | Latest Sports Articles | Revsports.


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The post IPL and General Elections go hand in hand! appeared first on Sports News Portal | Latest Sports Articles | Revsports.”}]] 

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