Why Modi did politics with deserving players?

By Rafat Nayeem Quadri, for TCN

Both are Gujaratis. World class cricket players of India from Gujarat Yusuf Pathan and Munaf Patel have brought laurels for the State. But, in its ugliest face of politics the state government who spends crores of rupees in marketing leaders of their choice and ideas of their priority found the achievement of Pathan and Patel not worth celebrating.

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Despite the media being critical of it and reports to do justice to the duo were repeatedly highlighted by media, Modi government did not find it worth.

Modi is more responsible for it than anybody else. For, not only that he should be able to encourage the duo and make them an inspiration for hundreds of youngsters who are working hard at various cricket coaching camps of Gujarat today to become champions. But, what do they look upon? The Chief Minister who talks big things and becomes champion of youth cause had no time and will to arrange for a gala felicitation and encouragement of the duo of Gujarat.

Yusuf Pathan [Photo Courtesy: cricketworld.com]

There seems to be no political will to do so.

It is clear now with the all-rounder Yusuf Pathan, a member of the World Cup winning cricket team was finally presented the Gujarat Government’s ‘Eklavya Award’, in an ‘ekaant’ (in solitude) almost 14 months after it was announced.

The award was also presented to his teammate and fellow Gujarati, Munaf Patel, at his residence in Bharuch in the first week of June.

Chief Minister Narendra Modi had announced the awards for Munaf Patel and Yusuf Pathan in April 2011. He had said that time that ‘Every Gujarati is proud of the achievement of our cricket team,”.

But the actual hand-over did not happen. Narhari Amin, former president of the Gujarat Cricket Association, slammed Modi for this delay recently. Modi currently heads the Gujarat Cricket Association and thus makes the feeling of large section of people of Gujarat that for some reason or the other neither the duo’s names were made popular nor were they felicitated the way they deserve to be.

State Supremo who has to play a father figure to all the young players and achievers once again failed miserably to play his role.

Ironically, at a time when Modi is reportedly trying to correct his image and sort of come close to the Muslims in the State could not yet raise himself above politics.

Munaf Patel [Photo Courtesy: cricketfundas.com]

‘Eklavya Award’ is the highest sports award set up by the Gujarat government. The officials of Youth, Cultural Activities and Sports Ministry visited Pathan’s house here and the award was presented in the presence of Mehbubkhan, his father. A cheque of Rs one lakh was also presented to him.

Pathan is reported to have responded saying “As a Gujarati I am delighted to get this award and feel proud.” But, as Gujaratis are we?

In the first place, the Rs1 lakh Eklavya award is an insult to these players. Their colleagues from other states received Rs1 crore and our CM announced just Rs1 lakh.

Modi, soon after India’s World Cup victory in April last year, had announced Rs 1lakh Eklavya award for Patel and Pathan. The Delhi government awarded Rs1 crore to Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Ashish Nehra and Virat Kohli. Punjab government handed out the same amount to Harbhajan Singh and Munaf Patel.

Sons of the soil Yusuf Pathan and Munaf Patel might not be keen to get few more lakhs from Modi and his office bearers but certainly they might have expected a tight hug from the CM himself and a warm celebration in the state where they were born and brought up, played from the ‘sheri cricket’ (cricket played in the narrow lanes) and reached the altar of the game and called World Cricket Champions.

(The author is Editor of ‘BILKUL’ Gujarat’s First English Fortnightly. She can be contacted at : [email protected] or at 9099927424)