Politicos divided on resuming cricketing ties
Even as the cricket boards of India and Pakistan celebrate the resumption of cricketing ties between the two countries, the political class has been caught on the backfoot. Some of the political parties are speaking in multiple, even contradictory voices on the issue.The Congress was cautiously supportive of the move. Party spokesperson Manish Tewari said, “The matter is in the domain of the BCCI. We maintain that politics and cricket should not be mixed.”AICC general secretary Digvijaya Singh was more vociferous in his approval: “There should not be any politics in games. Cricket match(es) will help improve Indo-Pak relations.” But the party’s Maharashtra unit chief Manikrao Thakre disagreed. “The BCCI can’t take a different view from the public,” he said.The BJP’s response was lukewarm. Its spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said: “The Pakistan cricket team had come to India earlier for the World Cup. The team of terrorists involved in the 26/11 attack should also be brought to India.”The BJP’s position appears to have been complicated by the fact that some of its leaders are involved in cricket administration. Moreover, two of the proposed venues – Delhi and Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh – fall under state cricket associations headed by BJP leaders Arun Jaitley and Anurag Thakur.The RSS was, however, caustic in its outrage. In a long comment spread across three tweets on its twitter handle, the RSS mouthpiece Panchajanya said: “How can we have Indo-Pak match on Indian soil when perpetrators of 26/11 are being protected in Pakistan…?”advertisementThe Shiv Sena, which has been a vocal opponent of allowing Pakistani cricketers to play in India, took a similarly combative stand. “If matches are held in Mumbai, the Sena is going to oppose it,” party spokesperson Sanjay Raut said.In a rare moment of unanimity, Samajwadi Party’s Maharashtra unit chief Abu Azmi echoed the Sena’s views. “Pakistan is a culprit in Mumbai. How can we have sporting relations with them?” he asked.