Narendra Modi has had an uninterrupted reign of power as Gujarat chief minister since 2002. He has been a controversial leader, praised and maligned in equal measure, but the one thing that almost everyone agrees on is that he knows how to get the job done.
In contrast, he has been the president of the Gujarat Cricket Association for a mere two years and already, there are rumblings of dissatisfaction among the members and stoking the fire is former Gujarat Cricket Association chief Narhari Amin who alleged that the body’s administrative work has suffered ever since Modi took over as its president.
“Ever since Modi took over as president of GCA on September 15, 2009, the administration of GCA is without any order,” Amin said in a press conference in Ahmedabad. “Modi has not attended a single executive committee meeting after he took over as the president.”
One of the reasons that GCA members haven’t been very happy with the way things are being run is because no one other than Modi, vice-president Amit Shah and GCA secretary Rajesh Patel seems to know what is happening.
Patel makes regular trips to Delhi to update Amit Shah on the happenings in the GCA and then the decisions are made in the capital – far away from Ahmedabad and any viable opposition too.
Shah, an accused in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case, has been asked not to enter Gujarat by the Supreme court. So he really has no way out of this but it is pretty logical that right now he has no option but to believe the reports that come his way.
“Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi asked Shah to resign from his Cabinet after he was arrested by CBI in the fake encounter case. Modi should also not allow a tainted person like Shah to run the GCA,” said Amin.
Ironically, Modi is known to have a very similar sort-of setup for his administration for Gujarat, which is known to be a state that is run by the secretaries. The corporate world doesn’t mind though. The thing about Gujarat is that decisions are taken quickly and most projects are approved or vetoed within a week — its autocratic rule at its best with all the final decisions being taken by Modi himself.
But the same approach in GCA has left the members feeling uneasy. They are out of the loop and they have no power to do anything themselves. Many of them expected Modi’s entry into cricket, to give them a chance to extract a few favours. Instead, they find themselves up a creek without a paddle.
Amin, a Congress leader who was the president of GCA for 16 years, was displaced by the BJP from his post in the 2009 elections and now, he probably senses a chance ahead of the September elections.
There is also a fear that the elections may not take place at all, so by making as much noise as possible now, Amin wants to get a feel of the ground conditions and see who stands where. Then as things get closer to the elections, he’ll know who to approach.
Amin also alleged that in 2009, rules of GCA were violated so that Modi could become GCA president. Modi was not co-opted as the member before seven days but he was directly made president, he added.
The pitch too has come in for a lot of criticism of late from players like Harbhajan Singh, who said that ‘the pitch isn’t good enough for Test cricket.’
What adds credence to Amin’s claims is that the Motera Cricket stadium alongwith the Feroze Shah Kotla in Delhi were the only two stadiums that were found to have inadequate facilities for the spectators by the International Cricket Council during the World Cup.
Is it just a coincidence that both associations are run by politicians? Modi in Gujarat and Arun Jaitely who currently heads Delhi and District Cricket Association, probably have a lot more on their plates than just cricket. Is that how it should be?