The state Congress is all set to make the shifting of Indian Premier League (IPL) matches away from Jaipur an election campaign issue. Once set to host the grand inaugural of the IPL’s second season, the city no longer remains on the IPL itinerary map.
The party intends to squarely blame Lalit Modi, vice president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and moving spirit behind the IPL for the shift. Since Modi’s proximity to the previous BJP regime, which ruled the state till it was defeated in the December 2008 elections is well known, it hopes to corner the BJP with this too.
“Our party will definitely highlight this emotional issue,” said Shanti Dhaliwal, state home minister. “Modi has let down cricket lovers in our state. Young people specially are very upset with his arbitrary decision to take away IPL matches from Jaipur.”
Officially Jaipur was discarded as a venue for security reasons. But since then chief minister Ashok Gehlot has declared that the state government would have provided adequate security had the dates been changed so as not to clash election day.
“We will definitely expose the nefarious design of Modi to deprive the people of Rajasthan of the pleasure of watching the IPL matches,” said state Congress chief CP Joshi. “He is in league with the previous BJP regime and acted in a partisan manner.”
What could have been Modi’s motive? Locals attribute it to his fury at having been defeated – along with his entire panel - in the Rajasthan Cricket Association elections a week ago. Former chief minister Vasundhara Raje refused to comment on the matter.