Narendra Modi (left) and Lalit Modi, both are excellent communicators. While the BJP’s PM candidate gave fiery speeches, the former IPL commissioner used Twitter to great effect to stay in the limelight © Getty Images
Lalit Modi has won the Rajasthan Cricket Association elections while Narendra Modi is on his way to winning the 2014 Lok Sabha elections in spectacular style. Abhijit Banare draws parallels between the two personalities and their nemesis.
If there is one commonality between Narendra Modi and Lalit Modi is that both men have achieved immense success in their respective backyards of Gujarat and Rajasthan respectively. Of course, Lalit’s biggest claim to fame was making the Indian Premier League (IPL) a mega international success. But like in politics, the BCCI is a huge power centre. In fact, the influence of politicians within the BCCI is unmistakable. And where there is politics, there is going to be a lot of bitterness and hits below the belt. Both Modis have ‘won’ for themselves an army of enemies whose single point agenda is to destroy them. However, both men are made of sterner stuff and have won the support of people where and when it counts: the elections.
Excellent communication: The social media has been the perfect platform for the two Modis. Ever since he went in to a self-imposed exile in United Kingdom, Lalit Modi has used Twitter to amplify public opinion. He hasn’t let go off any opportunity to launch scathing attacks on N Srinivasan and BCCI. On the other hand, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Prime Ministerial has made outstanding use of the various social media platforms — Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc — like no other Indian politicians. In contrast, the BCCI has shown scant respect for the media, social or mainstream, while the Congress has never cared to stay in touch with the youth in new age social media.
One-man show: Despite his victory in the Rajasthan elections, Lalit Modi does not quite have popular allround support. The perception among the cricketing fraternity is that neither Srinivasan nor Lalit Modi are saints; the difference lies in only the degrees. Lalit Modi has been accused of manipulating auctions, facilitating ownership of franchises, broadcast deals, and other allegations that hasn’t seen him in positive light. His dictatorial nature was bound to make enemies, much like Srinivasan has.
On the other hand, Narendra Modi’s centralised decision making in the famed ‘Gujarat mode’ doesn’t need much introduction; it has already been a meaty election issue. Both Modis are regarded highly for their work: Lalit Modi for setting up the Indian Premier League (IPL) from scratch, while Narendra Modi has turned around Gujarat as a long-standing Chief Minister. It’s another matter that IPL has no dearth of enemies, much like the vast number of people who refuse to accept that the Gujarat success model is a myth.
A self-created demon: What has helped both Modis is the arrogance of their enemies. While Congress remained oblivious and insulated from the controversies and lost touch with ground reality, the BCCI continues to maintain is ‘Big Daddy’ attitude, the examples of which are far too many. Under such environment, it created a perfect space for an opposition to take advantage of. Lack of transparency in the daily affairs of the BCCI and Congress only added to the public anger.
Know your arena well: Despite being banned, Lalit Modi was unperturbed. He was not one bit concerned and instead launched his own attack. Perhaps he knew his colleagues in the office inside out. He used those details to his advantage by revealing them at regular intervals and making sure that BCCI was forced to keep a track of his activities. At the same time, he didn’t let go off the opportunity to support Cricket Association of Bihar’s Aditya Verma in unseating N Srinivasan. Similarly, Narendra Modi has spectacularly warded off all the negativity of the Gujarat riots coming his way to be on the threshold of a watershed victory.
Looking to rock strong establishments: Narendra Modi is gunning towards unseating the Gandhi family by promising ‘change’; Lalit Modi is determined enough to unseat N Srinivasan, and is quite close to achieving that. Without debating their intentions, they are certainly more resolved than anyone at the moment and are reaping the benefits.
At the end of the day, the arrogance of power has left a bitter pill to swallow for the ruling party in India as well as for the apex board for cricket. It’s pill, they themselves created. On the other hand, the BCCI is still coming to terms with someone called Supreme Court clipping its wings. Nevertheless, the Modi’s are taking giant strides, and the slogan ‘Ab ki baar Modi Sarkar’ does make complete sense now!
(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter and blog)