The 11 were playing out of their skins, the thousands were screaming their lungs out, the millions were glued to their television sets… before erupting in celebrations. What was the power set doing'
Atal Bihari Vajpayee
He was on the line to Sourav Ganguly minutes after the famous victory. He asked the skipper to congratulate the entire team.
With elections ahead, the Prime Minister had a busy day, meeting several people in his office at 7 Race Course Road. But he kept an eye on the television tuned to the first one-dayer at Karachi. In the last hour, Vajpayee dropped everything and watched the nail-biting finish with his aides.
His party’s spin doctors were hard at work. Within an hour of the win, SMS messages were being zapped out by the campaign cell — “Khel bhi jeeta, dil bhi jeeta, shabash India (You won the match, you won hearts. Congratulations, India). Sender: BJP.
With children Priyanka and Rahul at the National Stadium in Karachi, the Congress president kept an eye on the match through the day. In the morning, she was free to watch it at home. In the afternoon, when she attended a conclave at the Taj Palace Hotel in Delhi, Sonia was overheard enquiring about the status of the match.
At a party election committee meeting at her residence in the evening, Sonia frequently took time off to catch up on the match’s exciting finish.
“Everyone in India prayed for your success and the victory has brought great joy across the nation… This is a great step and we hope that the rest of the tour will be equally exciting and rewarding,” she said minutes after the win.
The Congress, too, sent out an SMS message: “Bharat ko jitne ki sahee aasha thi, Rahul aur Priyanka team ke paas the.”
“It was an exciting and thrilling match,” the Pakistani President said via satellite at a conclave being held in Delhi.
Speaking to reporters in Karnataka in the midst of his Bharat Uday yatra, Advani said: They (Pakistan) tried till the very end. The result would have gone either way. I am happy India has won.”
The defence minister was an exception. “I did not know there was a cricket match today. I did not watch it. I was busy with meetings. As far as cricket is concerned, I ask ‘what’s the score’. I am happy whoever wins.”
The foreign minister saw the openers carting the Pakistani bowlers all around the park in his South Block office, but had to attend a Ficci seminar in the afternoon and then leave for Dhanbad.
He managed to catch the overs at the death on radio.
“I would consider today as one of the best moments of my life. I thoroughly savoured the Indian win… I wish Sourav all the very best for the rest of the series. I am confident that it would be 5-0 in our favour. Keep it up, Team India. Feel good.”