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Ex-cricketer clean bowls dissidence

As a stingy left-arm orthodox bowler, the arm ball was her forte. And as a hard-hitting left-handed batswoman, she had the knack of clearing the ropes at will.

india Updated: Mar 24, 2009 16:47 IST
Rahul Karmakar

As a stingy left-arm orthodox bowler, the arm ball was her forte. And as a hard-hitting left-handed batswoman, she had the knack of clearing the ropes at will.

Politics might have denied Ranee Narah the opportunity to represent the Indian women’s cricket team in the 1980s, but she drew upon her all-round cricketing abilities to hit dissidence for a six and clean-bowling five MLAs who opposed her candidature for the Lakhimpur Lok Sabha seat in northeastern Assam.

The Congress was in a quandary after five legislators – Rajib Lochan Pegu, Sumitra Patir, Ghana Buragohain, Raju Sahu and Bolin Chetia – representing as many Assembly seats under Lakhimpur, opposed Ranee’s selection.

The party High Command, they grumbled, overlooked their first choice candidate – actress and former beauty queen Bobeeta Sarma – to give the ticket to Ranee, 44. The latter, they added, was a failure as a two-time MP from Lakhimpur, which resulted in her loss to the AGP’s Arun Kumar Sarma in Mandate 2004.

The five also met Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Monday, threatening to quit if the party did not reconsider the list of probable candidates they had submitted to the All India Congress Committee. Gogoi advised them to cool down, maintaining Sonia Gandhi had assented to Ranee’s choice. She is the only woman candidate among 13 candidates the Congress has fielded for as many seats.

Sure enough, the five “resented” their rebellion 24 hours later. And they made peace with Ranee by Tuesday afternoon. But as they pointed out, not before the former MP had promised not to repeat the same mistakes.

“As in cricket, politics sometimes does not work to a game plan,” said Ranee, who also represented Assam in volleyball, weightlifting, shot put and discus before settling for what she was best at – the willow-and-wicket game. “The best bowling goes unrewarded and you lose despite scoring a century. But all’s well that ends well.”

And how did she make peace? Gently. "For, cricket is as much a lady’s game as a gentleman’s,” said the former captain of Assam women’s cricket team and the wife of Assam Parliamentary Affairs Minister Bharat Chandra Narah.

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