India Fights COVID-19: Rampant Rajasthan Politics & IPL To Be Held In UAE!

While the surging new COVID-19 cases in India in the last twenty-four hours nearly breached the fifty thousand mark and deaths in the period prior to it breached the 1000 mark, at least 100 legislators including the Chief Minister lounged in Raj Bhavan, Jaipur today for hours shouting slogans as an unprecedented chapter of the Rajasthan political thriller unfolded. Many among the MLAs assembled there did not even wear masks, and there was no social distancing followed in the luxury buses that carried them. Whatever earthy purpose they went there to protest for is the least of our concern. Our primary concern being why the rules are different for the politicians/political leaders, not only in Rajasthan, but everywhere in the country. It is painful as well as scary to behold these power-hungry people eternally going around with their visits, ‘inspections’, press briefs, even rallies/protest marches and so on, with particular reference to the so-called ‘opposition’ in various states ruled by political parties other than the one at the Centre. It is only natural that whenever a very important leader or a group of politicians moves out a huge entourage consisting of officials/party workers/supporters follows them, apart from the inevitable media persons and crews. How such crowds, in total violation of all sacred norms, are allowed to move around and even interact with innocent subjects?

Well, in this ‘largest’ democracy politics has always been the essence of everything, COVID or no COVID, crisis or no crisis. As we always say ‘the show must go on’ here in India ‘politics must go on’ whatever be the actual situation in the country. Politics is for the ultimate aim of capturing power, and everything is fair in love, war and power, especially in the largest democracy. Now, why is the Rajasthan crisis an edge-of-the-seat suspense thriller? Because, even after so many twists & turns, High Court & Supreme Court interventions and sayings/verbal attacks/talks/discussions/negotiations no party is sure of capturing or retaining the ultimate power in the state.

Same applies to the game of cricket too—the craze of the nation and the den of big money, glamour and glitz. Enough has already been sacrificed: no cricket in the country for over four months due to the virus. Therefore, how could it be that the 13th version of the money-spinning extravaganza, Indian Premiere League, be abandoned! The richest cricket board of the world, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), had been waiting for the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) decision on holding the World Cup T20 during October-November this year in Australia. The moment the ICC took the expected decision to postpone the tournament the BCCI got its coveted window to hold the IPL during this time. The schedule was fixed up: the tournament to start from 19th September with the final to be played on 8th November; one week earlier than expected, just to ensure India travel to Australia on time for the Series starting from December.

The cricket mandarins knew that if the tournament was to be held in India it would have to be staged without the revelers. The stakeholders/sponsors/broadcasters would never agree to this: just imagine unfolding of this glamour show without the shrieking crowds! And they hit upon the United Arab Emirates (UAE) where they could rent three stadiums in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, and very cleverly they put the onus on the UAE government to allow or not allow crowds. While India is the third worst-hit nation, the UAE is also not free from the clutch of the COVID-19 pandemic having nearly 60000 infected so far—the important aspect perhaps being the fact that more than 50000 have already recovered and the fatality rate is less than 1% at 343 so far. However, this does not at all ensure that the war against the virus is won and done with, considering the unpredictability of the mysterious virus.

The BCCI is waiting for the approval from the Government of India which is expected early next week. Once the approval comes the Governing Council will be convened and all the nitty-gritty of the extravaganza will be worked out. So then, politics and cricket must go on. In India, that is to say. 


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