By Madan Mohan
Having blazed a trail of destruction with the blade on the cricket field for over two decades, Sachin Tendulkar has now turned his attention to politics. His name has been approved for nomination to the Rajya Sabha by President Pratibha Patil on Thursday.
Cricketers have made forays into politics before. The 1983 World Cup hero Kirti Azad and former skipper Mohammed Azharuddin are already Lok Sabha MPs. Politicians are essentially effective opinion makers and people with a prominent public presence are in a great position to influence the opinions of a nation. So, in theory, there is nothing odd about a cricketer or any other famous personality getting involved in politics.
More so in the current scenario, where politicians already exert considerable control over cricket. Perhaps, cricketers who turn politicians might be able to bring a more desirable perspective to the administration of cricket. One would rather Indian cricket is administered by former cricketers, like it used to be during the days of Raj Singh Dungarpur. As much as many of us are predisposed to look at everything that has to do with politics with a heavy dose of cynicism, there are some positive aspects about Tendulkar’s interest in pursuing a political career.
It is difficult to say the same about the party that he has chosen to associate himself with. The Congress party has been at the receiving end of scams of all sorts of hues. It has borne the brunt of criticism from several fronts, be it corruption, be it the handling of Govt-Maoist conflict, be it relations with allies.
How much of said criticism is justified is a matter of debate, but it is fair to say that public perception of Congress party is not exactly enviable at the moment. One only hopes that should India’s most-beloved icon associate himself with a party that has persistently had its hands full with trouble running the Government of India, he manages to return unscathed from the experience.
On a lighter note, if the Congress party has Tendulkar by their side, it might sabotage activist Anna Hazare’s efforts to mobilise public opinion against some of their politics. Taking on the Government is fair game, but taking on the Master Blaster might be tricky business!
How Tendulkar goes about his political adventure is for him to choose, obviously, and his right to make his decision will be respected. But reactions to this news are likely to be mixed. On the flipside, he has only been nominated to the Rajya Sabha and hence will probably not be seen canvassing for votes. BJP MP Ravishankar Prasad has expressed the hope that he will regularly attend to matters in the House.
The news may also trigger speculation about his cricketing future. With politics on his mind, is Tendulkar perhaps preparing the ground for his imminent exit from international cricket?
Watch this space.
(Madan Mohan is a 26-year old chartered accountant from Mumbai. The writing bug bit him when he was eight and to date, he has not been cured of it. He loves music, cricket, tennis and cinema and writing on cricket is like the icing on the cake. He also writes a blog if he is not feeling too lazy at http://rothrocks.wordpress.com/)