Upping the ante…

…or lowering the level of dialog? Here’s what happened:

First, Shashi Tharoor made a statement in Parliament that was a complete waste of time, and much money [remember it is costing us Rs 26,000 a minute, give or take, to keep those jokers in business]. Here’s the full text; it contains nothing that has not already been put into the public domain by Tharoor and others already, in various television interactions. Maybe the next time he is asked for a statement, Tharoor should just refer the Lok Sabha to CNN-IBN or whoever — saves time all round.

And then Modi got into the act, with this little number.

“This morning, I learnt from a colleague of mine that Mr Tharoor has approached that ‘he would like their support to move the team out to Abu Dhabi. I don’t know which way they are going. The theme is to play in India, We will not allow any team to play outside India,” he told ‘Times Now’.

“All these allegations are to digress from giving the truth as to who the shareholders are and that’s the key and that’s what we are looking for. I will raise it in the next governing council meeting,” he said.

Eh? How?

The rules are very clear — a franchise has to be housed in the city the franchisees picked. It cannot even be moved to an adjoining city, let alone an entire other country. Modi knows that as well as anyone else. Better — he wrote the damn rules. So how could Tharoor, or anyone else under the sun, move the Kochi franchise to Abu Dhabi?

Just for the purposes of argument, assuming Tharoor could do that — then what? What is one franchise supposed to do sitting in Abu Dhabi while the other nine are in India: play with itself? [And I don’t mean that the way it sounds. Or do I?]

This is nothing more than an attempt by Modi to trump Tharoor: If you play the Kerala card and set yourself up as the defender of the state’s right to own a franchise, I will become the defender of India’s sole privilege of hosting the IPL. And it is faintly ridiculous when, earlier this season, Modi has been talking about taking IPL around the world.

Clearly, this thing Modi “learnt” from “his colleague” is merely another in the increasingly ridiculous series of charges and counter-charges being thrown around. As he says himself, the idea is to “digress from the truth”, and distract attention from the areas it should be focused on.

The sad part is, the principals are supposed to be responsible men: ministers and other government officials, administrators, and the like. Yet their behavior increasingly resembles schoolyard bullies having a hearty mud fight.

You don’t know whether to laugh, or to throw up your hands and, echoing the Bard, go “A pox on both your houses”.

PostScript: I’m heading off for the weekend, folks. Updates between now and Monday, only if something really happens to merit it. Else, see you next week. And during the weekend, occasionally on Twitter.

33 thoughts on “Upping the ante…

  1. There are a hundred different ways that the IPL can squeeze an uncooperative team. Location of matches is just the first one of them.

    The Kochi team, will find out that life can get very very hard if it continues to fight the IPL and the BCCI.

  2. One sided? I think Prem did point out the Parliament wastage of tax payer money and as for Tharoor he indirectly says:
    ” The sad part is, the principals are supposed to be responsible men: *ministers* and other government officials, administrators, and the like. Yet their behavior increasingly resembles *schoolyard bullies having a hearty mud fight*.

  3. Prem,
    I am sorry but your tirade seems entirely one sided. You are almost sparing Tharoor as if he is doodh ka dhula. Doesn’t it smack of corruption on his part to play such a big role in a deal where his fiancé is a direct beneficiary of some stake in the deal. Not sure, why you are trying so hard to defend Tharoor’s honor when he is equally in mud as Lalit Modi.

    • It’s easy to understand this. The fight is between a ‘suave’, elite, educated, international career-having Tharoor who gave up his prestigious world career to serve the poor & unwashed of India vs. the local, rustic, money grubbing Gujarati. Take a guess which side the English blogerrhea will come down on.

      I for one am on the side my local rustic (he may be an idiot, but he is our idiot). F off, Tharoor with your smug & condescending ass.

      Modi bhai, keep it going. I love your India card. Fricking brilliant!

  4. so the IPL can tell the franchises where to play, but the franchises can’t change that? wow, this IPL has to grow up real fast if it has to be a global player, doesn’t it? and i used to wonder why u took so much trouble to take the mickey of it, when you wouldn’t write on Indian matches unless Sachin made a double. i still don’t agree with the attention you give it, but this really is fun.

  5. Schedule fixed, grounds fixed, cities fixed, fanchise owners fixed, auction amounts also fixed (as LKM told everyone how much to bid)…are matches fixed as well?

  6. Have a nice week-end Prem and better take the entire next-week off. Just too much mud-slinging going on here….

  7. where is deccan chargers playing their matches this time ??? Can’t the kerala frachise play like that in abudhabi without thwarting any rules ? There are always possibilities if you look for it :)-

    • Not possible. DC is playing where the IPL told them to play. DC couldn’t even hold its own games in its own home, even though it wanted to. In other words, schedule and grounds are fixed by the IPL, not by individual franchises — which LKM knows better than anyone. So that particular possibility just does not exist.

      • Just a bit of a pedantic clarification, but technically, DC almost sued IPL because there was some clause which basically asserted a franchisee’s right to play in its home-turf.

        Except that, there was also a by-clause which defined home-turfs as including a certain ‘catchment area’; an area in and around the home-city which would presumably support the team in question. Hence playing in Dharamshala is a local game for Knights XI Punjab, and so on.

        So basically, IPL got around DC not playing any matches in AP by claiming Nagpur and Cuttack as being part of a ‘catchment area’ for Deccan Chargers. A bit of a geographic fiction that would have been more amusing hadn’t been for the fact I haven’t watched DC play in its so-called home-town for two years straight.

        And no, Abu Dhabi can’t be defined as ‘catchment area’ for Kochi, no matter how frequent the flights are between Kochi and Abu Dhabi. For the reasons you’ve pointed out accurately in your piece.

  8. What intrigues me is that Modi refuses to shut up, despite clear signals from all and sundry that keeping the issue going will not be good for him. He is a sharp guy- why would he accelerate down a clear path of self destruction?

    Is there something we are missing here? Or does he have a trump card that will prevail no matter how difficult the situation becomes.

    • Panic. The only trump card he has is that he has done favors for a heck of a lot of power brokers.

  9. Modi’s latest outburst shows that he is losing control over himself..He has done a great job of making IPL a reality but by allowing the concentration of all power and decision-making at the hands on one person (Modi) without too many checks and balances, BCCI was asking for trouble and it has got huge chunks of it now. Tharoor is also on a sticky wicket here…forget all the previous tweet troubles and controversies that he faced ..one could still understand them but not this equity allocation issue to Pushkar. Tharoor goofed up big time. Surprised and disappointed because we expected more and better from him.

    • Actually, Keralites wont mind Tharoor taking 70 crores ( assuming for the time being) for a jobe done well. Another project to Kochi, smart city from TECOM Dubai, which is also for an equal amount ($ 350 odd) is lingering for last 5 years and still very dark.
      Got it:)

  10. Akshay – House of record?? if it’s that, the record probably is quite humiliating of the country. i’d rather it NOT be – at least as soon as a member started walking down the isle towards the pit.

    the way business gets conducted there, is straight-up disgraceful to the dignitiy that the house is supposed to carry.

    • Constitutionally, yes, it is supposed to be. And yes, that Parliament’s time is misused is shameful (not necessarily humiliating, that’s a subjective point) for the country. It doesn’t change one bit that the Parliament is _meant_ to be a body where issues of national importance should be debated; a Member repeating his public comments again in the well of the House is democracy as intended by the Constituent Assembly.

      That he wasn’t debated/ held to account by parliamentary decorum is a matter of shame and waste of public money, not that he repeated them there in the first place.

  11. Despite all those adjournments and hulla gulla, the Parliament is supposed to be our House of Record, the ultimate place where pronouncements are made and debated. Sure, it costs INR 26k a minute, but it’s a better record than Twitter or blogs.

    • OIC. Okay, quick — three bills were passed, in less than 90 seconds, in Parliament today while the opposition was busy disrupting proceedings. Name them.

    • And if the “twitter and blogs” is a dig at those of us active in this space, here’s my response: I have never had the need to “expunge” anything I say here. Because I am responsible enough to be certain of what I am saying, before I say it. Why are proceedings of Parliament routinely “expunged”? If it is the House of Record, why is everything that is said there not placed in permanent record?

      Short answer — because those august gentlemen are not even as responsible as those of us who speak through blogs and Twitter. I rest my case.

      • Please, you misunderstand me. It’s _not_ a dig on blogs or twitter-ers; frankly, I’ve been pleasantly surprised and impressed by the quality of analysis and debate here.

        All I’m saying is, the Parliament is _constitutionally_ mandated to be an august body of deliberations. Whether parliamentarians use it as such is a different point altogether; all I’m saying is, repeating it there isn’t really a waste of time. It might seem like a waste of time for _us_ here, and rightly so, because we’ve been keeping up with the developments quite frequently. In the longer scheme of things, though, repeating those comments again in the well of the House is a constitutional privilege that Tharoor can, and should, utilize; it is not a waste of time or public money. That’s all I’m saying.

      • Your claim is patent nonsense. In late 1998, there was a Rediff chat in which Mani Shankar Aiyer participated. He was humiliated by the participants and Mani Shankar Aiyer got abusive while the participants were calm and clinical in their arguments.

        You suppressed the existence of this chat by not putting up the transcript. You need to look in the mirror first about not placing things on record and expunging stuff before accusing others.

  12. LKM is talking nonsense.abu dhabi ? This is a lame excuse to divert attention from real issue.
    But I still feel our media both press and tv are not asking ‘real’ questions to LKM..or maybe they are forced not to ask. His problems are for all to see, but why no one is exploiting them is a mystery..

  13. Prem,we all agree that the MPs disrupting the proceedings in LS/RS as a waste of public money but careful with the language mate!! Dinakaran ? , was it 10-15 years back in TN when the editor was hauled into Assembly for breach of privilege.

    • Oh I’ve been hauled up for privilege, too, by the TN assembly back when I was freelancing with Aside magazine. Can be a fun experience 🙂

  14. As soon as Kochi was awarded the franchisee, there were indications that the owners wanted to play some of their home matches in gulf, to tap the Keralite market there. Anybody think that Modi is just giving an interpretation that was not intended?

    • Dude, think for a moment. next year, you have 91 matches, 56 days. Playing within India and getting all those games in is going to be nightmarish enough. You think any franchise will contemplate adding international travel to this? Besides, the rules do not permit it. You can move an entire league abroad, like in season two, but you have no provision for moving one franchise abroad. Sheesh — surely Modi can come up with more creative accusations?

      • Nah, I was just saying that option was thought of as a viable business idea.

        On one hand, you have a whole untapped affluent market and on the other hand some tired cricketers. Say, what gives?

      • huh? Bangalore-Dubai flight takes 4 hours. Bangalore-Delhi takes 2.5 hours. Considering the faster commute from airport to hotel in Dubai than in Delhi, hotel to hotel commute time may be shorter in the case of Bangalore-Dubai than Bangalore-Delhi.

        • There will direct flight from Kochi/Chennai/Blore/Mumbai/Delhi/Hyderabad. How about Nagpur or Dharamsala or Jaipur. Wot if the matches are also held in Vizag?

          Surely someone forgot his geography here. Now that Shashi Tharoor is the Minister of state incharge for Middle-East and African affairs, I surely think he understands the complexities in travel.

          Any consideration for the time-zone difference? Sheesh!. Lalit is competing with Vince Mcmahon of WWE to be the dumbest boss ever. Just the Vince is trying deliberately to achieve that!

  15. “What is one franchise supposed to do sitting in Abu Dhabi while the other nine are in India: play with itself?”

    Honestly, couldn’t help but ROTFL!!!

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