Everybody (in the BCCI) loves N Srinivasan. But why?
Why does everyone keep giving him the vote of confidence? The reasons have been speculated upon for a long time and here's a look at a few of them.
Many have been vociferously critical of N Srinivasan and his brand of leadership. Lalit Modi has been running his campaign against the re-elected BCCI president on twitter, the web, newspapers and every other medium possible. The media has listed out his inability to distance him from the IPL betting and spot-fixing scandal as just one of the reasons why he needs to step down. The Supreme Court has even wondered why has the BCCI has lost its credibility.
But to all the questions the world can throw at them -- the BCCI has only one answer: silence. It's like a wall -- they listen to everything and provide no semblance of an answer. There have been suggestions that the fear of Srinivasan keeps everyone in line.
Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill once said: "The power of the Executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him the judgment of his peers, is in the highest degree odious and is the foundation of all totalitarian government whether Nazi or Communist."
Srinivasan has done that with Lalit Modi, with the latter alleging that he was not even given the opportunity to present his side before the disciplinary committee ahead of the decision to ban him from the BCCI forever. And he's also found ways to scuttle Sharad Pawar's attempts to be part of this BCCI AGM and figured out zonal politics enough to be elected unopposed.
But surely, the BCCI's confidence or love for Srinivasan is not just about fear. Fear can only keep you in line for so long. So why does everyone keep giving him the vote of confidence? The reasons have been speculated upon for a long time and here's a look at a few of them.
1. According to a current TNCA member and a Muthiah loyalist (so the hate is obvious), Srinivasan worked his way into the TNCA by offering money or granting favours. It looks like he has done the same in the BCCI too. It took Srinivasan less than 20 minutes to get re-elected before he started doling out the favours. His first major nomination was Orissa's Ranjib Biswal as IPL chairman. From the South Zone -- G Gangaraju (Andhra) was given charge of the finance committee, TC Mathew (Kerala) took over as NCA chairman and Vinod Phadke (Goa) was put in charge of the media committee. Connor Williams, from secretary Sanjay Patel's unit, Baroda was named U-19 selection committee chairman. Others who raised any objection to the manner in which the BCCI was being run- like Sanjay Jagdale, Niranjan Shaha and Ajay Shirke - are out.
2. You can't mess with the fates. Or with astrologers. Srinivasan is a deeply superstitious individual. Meetings always happen on floor 11 of a prestigious Chennai hotel. Even the timing of the bus leaving the hotel is planned. The start of the AGM is also always at a particular time. Before every CSK match, there is a tantric triangle made outside the boundary line. He even refused to let the Indian team wear their new kit ahead of the 2012 T20 World Cup and stick to the old kit that they wore when they won the 2011 World Cup. The reason was probably a well-known astrologer and vaastu consultant in Chennai called Vaastu Venkatesan. They say that former India captain Kris Srikkanth introduced the astrologer to AC Muthiah and later to Srinivasan. The astrologer, according to reports, makes almost Rs 2 crore a year off Srinivasan. Well at least his own future is bright!
3. Prior to 2005, BCCI offered Rs 4 crore as infrastructure subsidy to state associations. Today it is Rs 50 crore. More money for the associations and no accountability -- who wouldn't like that? The J&K Cricket association scam has lingered on -- there has been no cover up but no action has been taken by the BCCI as well. Read Tariq Engineer's piece on why the BCCI can't be trusted to clean up it's act.
4. When the IPL started in 2008, BCCI amended its rules to allow its office-bearers to own teams. Before the amendment, the clause (6.2.4, Regulations for Players, Officials, Umpires and Administrators) in the BCCI constitution read: “No administrator shall have, directly or indirectly, any commercial interest in the matches and events conducted by the board.”
After the amendment it read: "“No administrator shall have directly or indirectly any commercial interest in any of the events of the BCCI, excluding IPL, Champions League and Twenty20.”
A few words and that was enough. To this day, Srinivasan is the only BCCI administrator with any direct link to any of the teams. AC Muthiah dragged him to court over this, alleging a conflict of interest. The Supreme Court allowed Srinivasan to take charge as the BCCI president pending the outcome of the case. It is still pending. Srinivasan has figured out a way to keep things pending long enough for the troubles to just pass him by. So no matter what you bring against him -- be prepared to wait... a long time. But then again why do this -- he is nice to the people he likes. So fit in there and get cozy.
5. Srinivasan's favourite book is Mario Puzo's The Godfather. And really -- you don't want to take Srinivasan on because as Don Vito Corleone said in the movie, 'I'm going to make him an offer he can't refuse.' Srinivasan often does that -- and his opponents have little choice. We all know what refusal led to in the story...
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