E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: My friend, the Ace Political Expert (APE), who also sometimes doubles as the Ace Sports Specialist (ASS), was sulking in a corner in the lawns of our club.
As I wished him for the evening, he didn’t say anything, but just motioned me to sit. Usually a cross between a chatterbox and a high-pitch voice- box, I found his silence somewhat funereal.
After ordering the bearer to bring Mallya’s Kingfisher and Dasappa’s masal vade, I asked him the real reason why IPL was moving out of the country.
“Where were the “security concerns” when the Bombay police commissioner himself had cleared it? Or was it a doosra from P. Chidambaram under instructions from Sonia Gandhi to teach the great Maratha, Sharad Pawar, some lessons in ‘Power Play 2’ after the Congress-NCP seat-sharing talks broke down?”
APE, who was downing his sorrows alone for god knows for how long, considered the question, thoughtfully nibbled at the vade, and said: “This is terrible political blood-letting on a cricket pitch of 22x 2 mtrs. I feel they are moving the wrong event out of the country. They should have moved the elections to South Africa, England or Timbuktu or some such place. Cricketers in the IPL mainly believe in clean hitting, either for a 4 or 6, bringing a lot of joy to families out in the evening. Amongst cricketers, there are no sitting MPs who are convicts and thugs; there is nobody among them who is either in jail or becomes a thief, sorry, chief minister when he is out of it. Nobody has faced a TADA court or hides in a hospital feigning political ‘Heart Attack’.”
“That’s true,” I agreed.
“It’s the politicians, if at all, who need police protection, not only from terrorists but people themselves, if you see what happened after the Bombay terror attack. South Africa could have easily organised our elections there. True, liquor will flow right through; cash for votes will be a daily affair and booth capturing from the lackeys of candidates a strong possibility, but the police of RSA could have easily handled that under their goonda Act or something equivalent to that. Meanwhile, we would have had peaceful, exciting IPL matches with sellout crowds cheering the cheer girls.”
“Yes. It’s a pity. We will miss all that.”
“Also we would have seen genuine camaraderie between Sangakkara and Jayawardene with Yuvraj Singh; between Dhoni , Muthaiah Muralidharan and Flintoff; Sachin with Jayasuriya and Dravid with Pieterson.”
“That’s the main objective of club games which transcends nationalistic feelings.”
“Instead, what will we have? Even within teams they are itching to finish each other off. Arun Jaitley is openly fighting BJP president Rajnath Singh and Sudanshu Mittal. Siddaramaiah in Karnataka is still a political pariah not acceptable to most Congressmen, but may become KPCC chief. Vishwanath in Mysore is facing open rebellion within the Congress party if he is given a ticket. What kind of a team spirit will they exhibit which can be a lesson for our youngsters?” asked the APE as he gulped down his third whisky.
“So true. No one considered that.”
” The Pathan brothers, often contest for the one berth in the team knowing one of them will have to lose out, but you won’t find Irfan pulling down Yusuf if Yusuf makes it to the team. They are not jealous of each other but are happy for each other’s success. Can we say that of Priyanka or Rahul with Varun? Both are Gandhis and cousins, but behave as if they are different species belonging to different planets.”
“How do you think it will all end this year?” I asked as the bearer brought our bill.
“IPL 2 will still succeed in South Africa like the first T20 World Cup played last year. It will be a thrilling contest in the final.”
“What about Lok Sabha elections?”
“I won’t be surprised if the voters skip elections on the days of matches. There will be fractured verdict; more asses will be paraded after horse-trading. Non-entities will rule the country as if it is their personal fiefdom,” prophesied APE as we got up to leave.