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Netas cash in on WC fever

mumbai Updated: Feb 18, 2011 02:18 IST
Naresh Kamath

Politicians, who let no opportunity pass to put themselves in the limelight, are now using the cricket world cup fever to grab the attention of the citizens.

Various initiatives like SMS campaigns, distribution of T-shirts, putting up giant screens to view matches as well as lavish pujas to pray for India’s victory are being organised to cash in on the event.

Congress legislator Charan Singh Sapra organised a puja at the Siddhivinayak Temple with the replica of the world cup on Thursday.

His contention is that as cricket is a religion in India, he has sought the blessings of Lord Ganesha to win the cup.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) corporator Kokila Parmar has distributed 20,000 laminated match schedules of the world cup in Khetwadi and will place a giant screen at Khambatta lane. “This is one way to connect with my voters and to promote sporting activities,” Parmar said.

The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has also arranged for various programmes in the city. The Naigaum unit is arranging for giant screens to be put up at major playgrounds and is also distributing T-shirts. “We have to cater to the youth who are the backbone of my party,” said Appa Patil, MNS leader.

The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) is now starting an SMS campaign to support the Indian team.

In Thane, NCP legislator Jitendra Awhad has erected a 14-foot world cup replica with photographs of the winning Indian team of the 1983 Prudential Cup.

Political commentators say this is all part of personal brand building. “They want to cash in on the event and increase their own worth,” Nilu Damle said. He said the current political scenario is such that politicos never miss an opportunity to win brownie points.