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Meera Sanyal’s election campaign and the cricket connection

Meera Sanyal's election campaign and the cricket connection
Meera Sanyal is contesting from Mumbai South constituency for Aam Aadmi Party in Lok Sabha General Elections 2014. Photo Courtesy – DNA Syndications.

The Lok Sabha election results are just round the corner. Cricket – even the shortest and glitziest version of it – will take a backseat over the better part of the weekend. Of all the candidates, Abhishek Mukherjee looks at the one who had used cricket in the previous elections half a decade ago.

The biggest problem with writing an article on cricket on a day when the nation’s eyes will be glued to television screens and the internet for an entirely different reason altogether is that nobody will possibly bother to read it. True, the touring Sri Lankans will take on Kent in the historic ground of Canterbury in the evening, but that will attract as much attention as Australian Rules Football does in Myanmar, and even that is being optimistic.

Meera Sanyal née Hiranandani (former CEO of Royal Bank of Scotland, current President of Liberals India, and India’s only representative in the International Council on Women’s Business Leadership in 2012) is the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate from Mumbai South constituency for this year’s Lok Sabha Elections. Five years ago she had stood from the same constituency – but as an independent candidate. In fact, she was the first independent candidate to stand from Mumbai South since Madhu Metta in 1989.

The question you may be asking here is: what is Ms Sanyal doing on a cricket column?

Being an independent candidate comes with its benefits and negatives: while you are not backed by the machinery the big guns will, you get a few “perks” the others will never get. For example, you will never be admonished from a party; you get to choose your constituency, and there will not be any serious pressure on you regarding the results.

What is more, you also get to choose your own symbol.

Ms Sanyal’s passion for cricket is not well-documented, but her symbol in 2009 was related to cricket. It was that of a right-handed batsman (it had to be a batsman, who cares about bowlers?) who was:

(a.) square-cutting a ball seriously wide outside of off-stump with the body tilted behind and the front foot in the air (which seems to be an odd thing to do with a ball that outside off), or

(b.) hooking violently, the impact of which had brought the batsman behind the stumps (which made the batsman a brave one, since he was batting without a helmet on a bouncy wicket), or

(c.) sitting casually on the stumps (which remained unmoved despite the batsman’s bodyweight; this means either the stumps were remarkably sturdy or the batsman had an impeccable sense of balance)

Whatever it was, it was a novel thought. It did not work for Ms Sanyal, though: she finished with a mere 1.58% of the votes cast as the Milind Deora of Indian National Congress had held on to the seat. Whether the broom as a symbol will be enough if she attempts a clean sweep (yes, there is an intended pun) is another story.

(Abhishek Mukherjee is the Deputy Editor and Cricket Historian at CricketCountry. He blogs at http://ovshake.blogspot.in and can be followed on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ovshake42)

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