Qaiser Mohammad Ali
A financially crippled DDCA on Wednesday said that if chief minister Arvind Kejriwal didn’t give relief on long overdue entertainment taxes, the association might announce on Thursday itself that it won’t host the India-South Africa Test next month.
The DDCA’s last flicker of hope is Kejriwal, from whom DDCA’s top officials have sought an appointment to plead for relief in entertainment taxes.
But the chief minister, who came to power with a landslide win in February on the anti-corruption plank, hasn’t so far given time to the officials of an association is deeply mired in corruption and even a CBI inquiry is going on.
DDCA treasurer Ravinder Manchanda on Wednesday said that Thursday would be a decisive day for the DDCA vis-à-vis hosting the five-day Test match, starting on 3 December.
“Tomorrow is a crucial day for us. We are likely to meet Kejriwal tomorrow, subject to him granting us appointment. His office would let us know in the morning. If he says ‘okay’ then the match will be on; there will be no problem,” Manchanda told jantakareporter.com
“If Kejriwal bails us out then we’ll firefight and organise the match; if he doesn’t then we will announce, either tomorrow or the day after, that there would be no match at the Kotla,” he said.
DDCA vice-president Chetan Chauhan is also hopeful that Kejriwal would give an audience to him and Manchanda.
There is a feeling within the DDCA that if Kejriwal takes a “political decision” then he would not grant it the green signal, but if he considers our issue from a sport’s perspective he would let the match be played at the Ferozeshah Kotla.
Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party represents transparency and accountability while the DDCA is directly or indirectly administered by the BJP – staunch rival of the AAP. Chauhan, for example, is a BJP member. Sources say these days quite often ‘instructions’ for the DDCA come from somewhere in the central government.
These factors have made DDCA start looking jittery over the issue. However, Manchanda clarified that he was member of no political party.
The BCCI, on the other hand, has set November 17 as a deadline for the DDCA to reply whether it would be in a position to host the match, and has also asked the Maharashtra Cricket Association to be on standby to host the match in Pune, if need be.
“Till 2008 we had got complete exemption from entertainment tax. And till 2012 no entertainment was imposed on advertisement and sponsorship. We have calculated that. We think it [Rs 24 crore notice on DDCA from the Delhi entertainment department] is incorrect,” Chauhan told jantakareporter.com
Since DDCA is financially crippled and reportedly has only Rs 13,000 in hand, it wants Kejriwal to allow it to deposit a small part of the Rs 24 crore tax demand now, let the Test match take place, and then it would deposit the rest of the amount.
Meanwhile, sources in the Chief Minister’s office said that Kejriwal seems to be in no hurry to grant audience to DDCA officials. However, the DDCA officials remain hopeful.
Chetan Chauhan met deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia a few days ago over the same issue of taxes. However, since the final decision is in the hands of Kejriwal, DDCA officials have sought a meeting with Kejriwal.