The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Letters to Editor

Words without meanings

Sir — The most important weapons in the armour of politicians on their election campaigns are words. Of words are made promises, meant to be forgotten soon after the elections. In Chhattisgarh, the Congress’s Ajit Jogi pleaded that he was a “jogi who was asking for a handful of rice”. On another occasion, he had stated that “lotus” grows on water, which induces electric shock, but touching a “hand” entails no such risk. His symbolism was lost on the audience — something that has been reflected in the results (“Crowd for copters, not leaders”, Nov 30). Jogi, like his fellow politicians, expect the masses to fall for their verbal charms, and strangely enough, they do. Else, we would not have people thronging the booths to cast their votes, even after the politicians fail to deliver the goods. What is more important for a democracy, a politician who works, or a voter who votes' It is increasingly becoming difficult for the Indian democracy to accommodate both.

Yours faithfully,
Abhijit Mukherjee, Calcutta

Caught behind

Sir — Why is everyone blaming the Board of Control for Cricket in India for suspending Abhijit Kale before starting an inquiry' The national selectors are respectable officials of the board, and when they report against a player in writing, the BCCI must act upon it. And if the BCCI has acted in a rash manner, it must also be said that those who have jumped to Kale’s support have even less and lopsided knowledge of the full contents of the case.

The Maharashtra Cricket Association’s role in the episode has been disappointing too, since they not only decided to conduct an inquiry of their own, but also exonerated the accused cricketer by hearing only his version.

Kale’s mediocre financial background has been cited to prove his innocence. But how can a person carrying more than one mobile phone, driving a fashionable car, staying in an expensive hotel room instead of renting a house in Pune, earning both from his employers, BPCL, be considered anything but well-off' Coaches have had problems with him as a team man.

Although it might finally be difficult to prove the allegations, the Kale episode has done a signal service to Indian cricket by exposing a nexus between selectors and aspiring cricketers where money plays the catalyst.

Yours faithfully,
Bharat Ghelani, Salkia

Sir — Whether or not Abhijit Kale tried to bribe his way into the Indian cricket team, the rashness of the BCCI has ensured that all the sympathy and support go over to Kale’s side (“Cricket selectors spill player’s secret”, Nov 23). The BCCI has gone about this business in an extremely amateurish way, and lost whatever credibility it may have gained for itself so far.

Yours faithfully,
Sumitra Majumdar, Calcutta

Sir — Abhijit Kale’s career is over for all practical purposes. That fact that he was declared guilty even before the charges were proved is not going to matter to the selection committees in future, now that Kale has a scandal against his name. Would the BCCI have taken identical action against the selectors had Kale accused them of asking for bribe (as a junior cricketer has done recently)' It must be remembered that there is no dearth of support for Kale from former players.

Yours faithfully,
Govind Das Dujari, Calcutta

Sir — Who can say with conviction that Kale is guilty and what the selectors are telling is the whole truth. While the actions taken by the BCCI defy logic, the developments show that all is not hunky-dory with Indian cricket and there is much more at stake than the passion of the viewers.

Yours faithfully,
Vikash Goenka, Calcutta

Sir — All through his coverage of the cricket bribery scandal, Lokendra Pratap Sahi has donned the mantle of a judge and passed verdicts on nearly everything. In his first report, for instance, Sahi congratulates Pranab Roy, the eastern zone selector, for setting “an excellent example” even though nothing has been proved conclusively yet.

Yours faithfully,
Subasis Bose, Bangalore

Sir — It goes against journalistic ethics to take sides. But Lokendra Pratap Sahi seems so sure that Kale is guilty of offering bribes to national selectors that he makes no attempts of disguising. What is the need to sensationalize an issue which is quite sensational by itself, even without Lokendra Pratap Sahi’s imaginative wonderings.

Yours faithfully
Sudipto Roy, Calcutta

Sir — If for argument’s sake, it is believed that Abhijit Kale had made the phone calls to selectors, then the obvious question that arises is, why Pranab Roy and Kiran More' Are these two, by any chance, the most “malleable” of the selectors' Is the probe panel going to raise this question'

Yours faithfully,
Siddhartha Gupta, Calcutta

Sir — What if Abhijit Kale is found innocent by the investigation team appointed by the BCCI' Who will compensate him then for the humiliation he is undergoing now, and how' A cricketer’s career is short, and losing a few years in the middle can ruin a promising career. Will the BCCI ensure an Indian team berth for Kale if he is found “not guilty” after the probe'

Yours faithfully,
Snehangshu Mitra, Hooghly

Sir — Now that cricketers are also claiming that some selectors demand money in lieu of a berth in the national or first-class squad, it is quite evident that bribery isn’t one-way traffic in the world of Indian cricket. Those former cricketers who have spoken up for Kale surely know of a few such incidents themselves. Since they are at no risk of losing their place in the team and ruining their own careers, it is their duty to bring to public notice the dark underbelly of cricket.

Yours faithfully,
Madhabi Ghatak, Calcutta

Sir — We have seen enough of the murky side of cricket. It is not fair that cricketers should still invite so much money from sponsors and so much adulation from the spectators. Which sensible parent would want his child to take up cricket after this' It is time we reined in our enthusiasm for the game a little and encouraged other sports like football, which is closer to the Indian masses and a less expensive affair. The corruption in cricket can only be checked if people withdraw their patronage of the game.

Yours faithfully,
H.K. Pal, Calcutta

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