The Telegraph
Saturday , June 14 , 2014
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Irony as Shah takes strike

Calcutta, June 13: Narendra Modi ended the “maa-beta” hold of the Gandhis in New Delhi and lieutenant No. 1 Amit Shah smashed the Yadavs’ “baap-beta” combination in Uttar Pradesh for a six.

But what about the Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA), which was headed by Prime Minister Modi till just weeks ago?

It’s baap-beta zindabaad in Ahmedabad!

One is referring to Shah, who is now the GCA president, and his son Jay. The latter is one of the three joint secretaries and widely seen as the power behind the throne.

Surely, cricket can’t be Shah’s priority, so Jay will call all the shots.

“This is the supreme irony. Mr Modi and Shah have been blasting the baap-beta culture, yet that’s so prevalent in their own backyard,” an old hand at the GCA told The Telegraph this afternoon, soon after Shah was “unanimously” elected as Modi’s successor.

Two of the four vice-presidents, Kantibhai Desai and Kanhaiyalal Contractor, are senior to Shah in the GCA, but neither staked claim. Nor did Reliance’s Parimal Nathwani. Nathwani is a member of the Rajya Sabha.

Shah, in fact, was set to become the GCA president in 2009 itself, but Modi (then Gujarat’s chief minister) sprang a surprise at the eleventh hour.

Nobody dared to oppose Modi and he was unanimously elected as the GCA president. He got re-elected last year. Unanimously, of course.

All along, Shah remained one of the vice-presidents and often attended the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) meetings as the GCA representative.

Jay became a joint secretary last year, eclipsing even secretary Rajesh Patel, son of former India cricketer Jasu.

“Mr Modi had little time for the GCA, so the decisions were either taken by the baap or the beta. The Shahs’ hold was complete much before the BJP stormed to power at the Centre," the old hand pointed out.

Within the GCA, there’s no opposition. The lead could have been taken by former president Narhari Amin, a one-time deputy chief minister, but he ditched the Congress and switched to the BJP a year-and-a-half ago.

Today, assigned a key role in planning, Amin enjoys the rank and perks of a cabinet minister.

Given that Shah is heading an affiliate of the BCCI, has he then set sights on a bigger role in cricket as well?

That bit can’t be ruled out and Shah may become a vice-president (West) of the BCCI at its AGM, in September.

All along, it’s interesting that the GCA has been endorsing everything proposed by Narayanswamy Srinivasan or his men.

Now that Modi is the Prime Minister and Srinivasan has effectively been suspended (as the BCCI president) by the Supreme Court, will the GCA review its position?

Srinivasan is one of those being investigated by the Justice Mukul Mudgal panel which has been given the responsibility by the country’s highest court.

The charges against Srinivasan, obviously, are of a serious nature.

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