Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa‘s alacrity in announcing the allotment of 50’x80’ house sites to each member of the World Cup winning cricket team is not surprising—nor is the tepid reaction to it. Politicians revel in making grand gestures, and a sentimental public applauds silently.
Still, with due respect to the achievement of Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his boys, the question must be asked: should a bunch of players who will not have a shortfall of anything for the rest of their lives be gifted this largesse, especially when not a single member of the team hails either from Bangalore or Karnataka.
The other question to ask is: is 4,000 square feet of land the only way to honour an achievement?
The charitable view of such a gesture is that Yediyurappa is not the first CM to see “returns” in it. Ramakrishna Hegde gave away plots to a whole bunch of artists and artistes, including a TV newsreader, to encourage them to make Bangalore their home and add to its cultural lustre. Closer home, S.M. Krishna gave away dozens of plots to journalists, obviously not for winning the World Cup.
But that was in another era; this is 2011. Land is at a premium. Bangalore is a magnet for all comers, but is not the only one. So should the cricketers be gifted land without question, especially if they do not use it for their own purpose?