On television screens across India, the cricketers seem to be enjoying the adrenaline rush on field as the Indian Premier League (IPL) unfolds in South Africa.
At the same time the Indian cricketers are keenly following on the televisions sets in their hotel rooms in South Africa the five-phase general election that is nearing its climax. On Thursday when eight states, including Delhi, voted, many players in the league were upset that they had missed this once-in-five-years chance to cast the ballot.
Talking to the Hindustan Times from South Africa, Delhi Daredevils’ and Team India leg-spinner Amit Mishra said, “I would have gone to cast my vote had I have been in Delhi, but due to our commitments (to the IPL), it is not possible.”
Mishra also mooted the idea of a system through which registered Indian voters could exercise their franchise if they were not in their constituency on the day of ballot. “I understand how important it is to vote. I wish there was a system by which one could vote by sending a SMS or on the Internet.”
Like Mishra, there are others who are ruing this missed opportunity. Vikramjeet Singh Malik of Kings XI Punjab said, “Once you miss a chance you can do nothing else but feel handicapped for the next five years, I seriously urge people to exercise their voting right.”
While Mishra’s idea of SMS or online voting may be the way of the future, for now the only alternative for those out of town on voting day is postal ballot. However, this facility is available only to select government officials.
When the Indian government forced the organisers to take IPL out of the country, it was pre-occupied with security concerns. But little did anyone realise that many cricketers, including iconic players who could have encouraged many others to come out and vote, were going to miss out on their vote.