Controversy at Kotla: Now, it’s felicitation of Delhi’s World Cup-winning players

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A Delhi government plan to felicitate Delhi players who were part of the 1983 and 2011 World Cup-winning teams at the Ferozeshah Kotla, during the ongoing India-South Africa Test, on Saturday got embroiled in a controversy, and then it was cancelled.

The event could not take place on Saturday, apparently, over disagreement between the government and the BCCI/DDCA over the exact spot of the function.

The Delhi government wanted to hold the function inside the playing arena while the BCCI wanted him to do it outside the boundary rope, but the real issue could well be beyond that — political.

Lawyer Rahul Mehra, who was coordinating on behalf of the Delhi government, said that the function was now off and that the government would organise the function at some other time.

“The function will not be held during this match. We will hold it later,” Mehra told jantakareporter.com.

A BCCI source, however, said that if the government could hold it beyond the boundary it would have no problem.

As the Delhi government disagreed to hold the function outside the field of play, the function couldn’t take place on Saturday.

The BCCI source maintained that it had not declined permission and that it only wanted the government to organise the function outside the field of play.

“The BCCI wanted to have a formal application from Delhi government that it wanted to hold a function because before that everything was being discussed orally. After the request came to (retired) Justice Mukul Mudgal who has been appointed by the Delhi High Court to oversee the Delhi Test,” said a source in the BCCI.

“Then Justice Mudgal had to approach the BCCI for a formal ‘okay’. That was the process. When Mudgal forwarded the Delhi government letter to the BCCI, the Board said that function could be held but not on the field of play,” he said. “That is the position of the BCCI; there was no opposition to the event. The Board only said that it can be organised around the ground or in the pavilion, but not in the field of play.”

After Mudgal informed the Delhi government, it apparently insisted that it wanted the function to be organised on the field.

“Mudgal apparently offered the government an alternate place just outside the boundary rope, where print media photographers sit during matches, for the function and that he would get the arrangements made for that. But the Delhi government didn’t agree to this proposal,” said the source.

Another source said that the Delhi police “officially conveyed” to the DDCA, the match-hosting association, that due to security reason the function should not be allowed on the ground because it involves the chief minister too.

“I heard Justice Mudgal telling the media at the Kotla that even now if the Delhi government wanted to organise the function outside the field of play he would have no problem,” he said.

According to a media statement from the Bishan Singh Beda-headed NCT Cricket Association, the Delhi government had decided to honour two former India captains from Delhi – late Mnasur Ali Khan Pataudi and Bedi — along with eight members of the World Cup-winning teams of 1983 and 2011 who belong to Delhi.

More to follow…(including the full version of Delhi government)

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