Qaiser Mohammad Ali
Despite all the noises being made about how the DDCA doesn’t deserve to host the upcoming India-South Africa Test match next month due to its mismanagement, there is a strong, valid argument why the NDA’s central government would like the match to be played in Delhi.
One of foremost reasons is the trophy for which the four-match Test series is being played – the Mahatma Gandhi-Nelson Mandela Trophy – and India’s prestige involved with the match being in the national capital.
If you still haven’t got the drift, here it is: the top politicians, including the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his ministers, are expected to attend the match at the Ferozeshah Kotla Stadium, provided the match is not relocated.
Top sources claim that Modi himself could be presenting the Gandhi-Mandela Trophy to the winning team captain at the end of the five-day match, which begins on 3 December.
“Amid the noises being made over corruption issues at the DDCA, no one seems to have given a thought to the prestige involved with this series and the allocation of the fourth and final Test in Delhi. It involves the name of Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi and his South African counterpart Nelson Mandela,” a BCCI source told jantakareporter.com
“And when the name of Mahatma Gandhi is involved, naturally, the government of the day would also be involved. In this regard, Modi, is expected to present the Gandhi-Mandela Trophy to the winning team at the end of the game,” he said. “Not just Modi, but many of his ministers are expected to visit the Kotla, particularly on the final day of the match. That is the information we have got from the government.”
The source pointed out another “crucial” factor. “Not to forget that BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur is a BJP MP and close to many top politicians of his party, including Arun Jaitley, who ruled the DDCA as president for 14 years. It’s only natural that in some corner of his heart, Thakur would also want the PM to attend the match and present prizes,” he reasoned.
“We also have information that some important dignitaries from South Africa would also attend the match, including the High Commissioner of South Africa to India, in Delhi. He might also present a few prizes. Besides, the BCCI officials would also be in Delhi anyway on 7 December to attend the wedding of the daughter of Jaitley,” he said.
“But if the match is shifted to Pune, the same set of people would probably not be able to go there. So, the central government would be keen that the Test is played in Delhi, despite whatever reservations Arvind Kejriwal’s Delhi government and its agencies might have about the DDCA and the Kotla. Don’t rule out an understanding between the central and the Delhi governments on this particular issue.”
Giving various permissions is in the hands of Delhi government and the DDCA is facing problems in securing them due to overdue taxes, particularly entertainment tax demand of Rs 24.46 crore.
Now, what will Kejriwal, whose Aam Aadmi Party came to power on the plank of anti-corruption, do? If pressure is applied by the central government, would agencies under his government give the green signal to the messy DDCA to organise the Test match?
To compound the matter, DDCA top officials have not been able to get an audience with Kejriwal. But treasurer Ravinder Manchanda said that he and working president Chetan Chauhan met a committee (headed by Chetan B Sanghi, Principal Secretary PWD, Urban Development & Vigilance) that Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia constituted on Thursday.
“Chetan and I met the committee this afternoon and we had a good meeting. They said that they would try and resolve the entertainment tax issue. The impression that we have got is that the match in Delhi is on,” Manchanda told jantakareporter.com. “But the committee has called us again tomorrow along with other DDCA directors.”
When asked specifically about the realistic chances of the DDCA hosting the match, Manchanda said, “There are about 80 percent chances of Delhi staging the Test.”
DDCA is financially crippled, but Manchanda claimed that the BCCI would be releasing some money due to the DDCA soon.
“That will be no problem. We are talking to the BCCI and they might release about Rs 10 crore on tonight itself to organise the Test match,” he informed.