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She’s got team spirit

Mamatadi has shown that she can be a good sport in more than one field, and has a scored a few political goals too.

india Updated: May 31, 2012 23:44 IST
Hindustan Times

A lot of work gets done in the post-paribartan world of Mamata Banerjee. Then, of course, there is play. Those who have witnessed Ms Banerjee’s tumultuous rise through politics might confer that her remarkable physical agility, not to mention her uncanny knack of seizing the moment, have often reminded them of an underappreciated sporting prowess. But events of the ongoing week seem to point to the fact that apart from the game of politics, Ms Banerjee is a keen observer of other kinds of sporting activities. And that she is more than willing to lend her voice to, or even shake a random leg to document that appreciation.

By the look of it, one might be fooled into thinking that it is the legendary wielders of the willow who have caught her fancy.

Even before her fulsome admiration for the nuances of short format cricket and its practitioners — the IPL-winning Kolkata Knight Riders — had burst into our consciousness, Ms Banerjee had been advocating that the Bharat Ratna be awarded to Sachin Tendulkar.

But just to disprove our assumptions about her over-indulgence towards cricketing stars, Ms Banerjee has now gone ahead and proposed that the Bharat Ratna be given to Vishwanathan Anand, who has just won the world chess championship for the fifth time.

We are told that with this one deft move, Ms Banerjee has checkmated those who might be late in joining the clamour for awarding the highest civilian honour to the chess champion. And in promoting every kind of sport — from organised and intricate team efforts like cricket to cerebral and individual pursuits like chess — she has covered both the ends of the spectrum. And giving a lie to the oft-hurled accusation of being parochial, she has celebrated the success of sportspersons, no matter which part of the country they belong to. Given her faith in the grassroots, maybe she will turn her attention next to those poorer cousins of sports like kabaddi and kho-kho and ensure their moment in the sun. In any case, we would be saying, well played Didi.

First Published: May 31, 2012 23:42 IST