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By Abhijit Banare
N Srinivasan has somehow managed to stand by his word. Ever since his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan was arrested on May 25, Srinivasan was crisp and clear that he will not be “bulldozed” or “railroaded”. In just over a week, a series of infighting, resignations, political gambles and stiff resistance was played out behind closed doors. The entire saga however has given a few interesting lessons through N Srinivasan:
1. Keep relatives far away from your work
The mind goes back to November, 2012, when Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah tweeted out of embarrassment after his uncle Mustafa Kamal had termed the Indian government as the biggest enemy and not Pakistan. The J&K CM tweeted: “Funny thing is I don’t need anyone to make things difficult for me when I have relatives to do it for me. They say never work with animals and children. I think it is safe to add relatives to that list.”
Srinivasan too would give a +1 for Abdullah’s tweet after his son-in-law’s antics brought him to the edge of resignation. Until the spot-fixing revelations were flying all over the place, Srinivasan appeared as a possible saviour, who could take strict action against the guilty and cleanse the game. However, when the muck fell at his doorstep the eventual mess is there for everyone to witness.
2. Politicians are not always best friends
While politicians are the go-to option to bail you out of a threatening crisis, one cannot always rely on them to save a sinking ship as Rajeev Shukla showed. And Jyotiraditya Scindia it was who was the first to call for Srinivasan’s resignation. Having politicians as your right hand men can be a double-edged sword. The image of some of India’s top politicians affiliated to the board could have taken a severe beating ahead of a general election, which prompted them to distance themselves from Srinivasan. Finally, even without being part of the board, a politician can cause damage or try to cause damage, as Sharad Pawar showed ahead of Sunday’s Working Committee meeting in Chennai.
3. Everybody likes to pull down the man in power
If this point had to be imagined in the form of a caricature, it would certainly be a huge rock with name of Srinivasan being pushed by numerous little creatures, mainly comprising the media, politicians and a handful administrators. To observe the issue with a liberal attitude, the “stepping aside” of Srinivasan is not a plaguing crisis for the nation. Yet there is a sense of ‘enthusiasm’ to bring down a person in power filled with arrogance. The media yet again showed that even if it can’t force a change, it can surely set fire and shake the conscience of those in power. Ajay Shirke’s resignation post a gruelling interview with news channels is an example on the same lines.
4. Communication is the key
Before the IPL 6 spot-fixing menace was uncovered, the one person you could never meet or even ask questions to was Srinivasan. Away from the media, he considered himself sacrosanct enough to be unanswerable to anyone. The Chennai kingmaker missed a trick of having media by his side, unlike Lalit Modi who was much more proactive and approachable. The former IPL chairman was well aware on the sticky ground he had found himself, yet appeared unperturbed while facing the media on a regular basis.
Silence is not always the best medicine before a 24×7 media. Even while addressing the press, he wasn’t courteous enough to take uncomfortable questions — let aside the media hounding — which further added to the controversy. And as mentioned in the previous point, the arrogance of Srinivasan further riled up the hungry television channels that left no opportunity in mounting pressure on him to quit.
5. Being responsible always matters more than being correct
Technically speaking, the BCCI president had done nothing wrong which could ideally have called for his resignation. However, during a crisis, taking control of a situation matters more than coming across as a clean figure. And in this case there wasn’t even a scope for being correct the moment his son-in-law confessed. While resignation is an individual decision, Srinivasan could have definitely earned some respect if he had stepped aside and brought in people who could act on the issue rather than bargaining for appointing treasurers and secretaries.
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