PRITAM SENGUPTA writes from New Delhi: The decision of the selection committee of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to not pick Rahul Dravid for the first two one-day internationals against Pakistan has predictably drawn more bricks than bouquets.
Fans, followers and friends have stood by “The Wall” and slammed the move. But unlike in the case of another former captain, Saurav Ganguly, there has been none of the frenzied breastbeating on the bylanes of Bangalore.
Which is perhaps as it should be—Karnataka ain’t Calcutta, but clearly some are trying.
Like comrani Brinda Karat who sprang to Ganguly’s aid, another Rajya Sabha member, this time from Karnataka, has suddenly discovered that using his vocal chords for a cricketer can be a neat figleaf to cover up for otherwise lacklustre parliamentary showing.
Arise Shri Rajeev Chandrashekhar.
The erstwhile BPL scion, who represents the Janata Dal (Secular) in the Upper House, has been generally silent on all things Karnataka, and his only question in the budget and monsoon sessions of Parliament has been, believe it or not, on gold deposits in Orissa.
But, suddenly, Chandrashekhar has shot off a missive to Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar.
“A number of questions have arisen from this action of the selection committee…Rahul Dravid is a cricketer who we are all proud of and should be, because of the values of professionalism, dedication and performance that he had exemplified in recent years both as individual member of the team and as captain.
“If there is any attempt to by anyone in the cricketing establishment to cause harm to him on grounds other than professionalism, then that’s clearly unacceptable to me, people of Karnataka and cricket fans all over India.”
Doubtless, Dravid is all that Chandrashekhar says he is. Doubtless, Dravid has been a model cricketer with his grit, tenacity and intellect. Doubtless, the decision to drop him reeks of non-cricketing logic. And doubtless, every voice counts in ensuring justice for Mr Dependable.
But do we elect our MPs—even if we have no direct role in picking “elders”—to bat for our cricketers, who, in more cases than the head can keep count, reap what they sow and have made their pile anyway?
Where, pardon our asking, is the honourable member’s sagely voice while the State (through the party he represents) goes through a shameless political spectacle, pulverising voter and investor confidence?
Or when Belgaum and Cauvery, Mangalore and Bababudangiri were on slow boil?
Dozens of ordinary Kannadigas, who were promised the moon and more by the then chief minister’s grama vastavya, are still scrambling for justice. Dozens of artists and artistes are struggling to make ends meet. Where is his sense of indignation at the injustice?
Hundreds of farmers hanged themselves in the regime of the humble farmers. How come Rajeev Chandrashekhar couldn’t write to the agriculture minister about them? And why does a cricketer—a fine cricketer albeit—who earns by the crore alone tug at a crorepati’s heart?
Maybe, in some people’s books, Chandrashekhar has been smarter than other MPs in taking up Dravid’s issue. Maybe, each MP should be free to raise issues close to his heart rather than do the predictable. Maybe, urban Karnataka needs a voice, too.
Maybe, but how likely?