RCA matters: With Bollywood tadka

Jaipur : The Rajasthan Cricket Association ( RCA) polls is almost akin to a Bollywood blockbuster. Probably elections to no other state cricket associations is looked forward to with so much anticipation as in the case of RCA. Just as Bollywood films and all those involved wait with bated breath each Friday as to the public reaction, here too everyone is awaiting the results more so, with the candidature of newest kid on the block, Ruchir Modi.

Just like a Bollywood film, it has all the ingredients for the right masala mix – drama, melodrama, action, big money, heroes, villains, police, security, legal eagles, superheros who bounce back after a lull season, advisors, aides who jump sides without any hiccups or hesitations, NRIs who remote control the RCA polls from picturesque locations and the courts, which pitch in and act as the mediators.

The elections is almost like the colourful Indian political elections – it has a swag, a pace including cliched dialogues by almost the same actors, mouthing that all they want to do is work for the welfare of cricket. But alas the actual cricket players, the budding ones or minions have all become passive as ban orders become order of the day, while the heroes get to speak all the lines and corner the limelight too.

The Rajasthan High court has directed the RCA on Tuesday to hold elections on May 29 as it said once an election process has started, it cannot be stopped.

So there’s jubilation in rival camps, at least on the surface. The Ruchir Modi group and C P Joshi group.

Ruchir, son of former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi who has been living in London, since he was charged with money laundering, is the new entrant in the field.
Ruchir is the younger hero, set to take over the mantle from his father, Lalit, whose claim to fame in the cricketing world was through Rajasthan. His negotiating acumen, shrewd manoeuvres in marketing made him sail high up in the cricketing world not only in the RCA but BCCI too, till it all came down with a thump.

Lalit Modi’s rise in cricket is intertwined with his entry into RCA, just like Bollywood movies, wherein the hero or heroine’s parents or elders have a mysterious past. Lalit bagged or arm-twisted his entry into the RCA elections in 2005 using a controversial government ordinance that took away the voting rights of 59 RCA members and allowed only 33 district associations to vote. Only office bearers of state cricket associations can contest BCCI elections. That he was close to the then Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, definitely helped.

His son Ruchir got his entry into RCA through Alwar district cricket Association and is now pitching for the top post in RCA. The 22-year-old is already the founder and CEO of Modi Ventures and director of Godfrey Philips India Ltd, Modi Enterprises, Modicare, Peyotito London. All these and the legacy of his father in RCA have its advantages, almost like the Bollywood dynasties both in reel and real life.

Ruchir says his father has done a lot for cricket, especially in Rajasthan, which never had matches or world class facilities as it has now. But Ruchir says he is his own man and does not want to rest on his father’s laurels. In fact Ruchir has said in several interviews that his father would rather not let him take part in this election process. And the decision to contest the polls is his own and if he wins, he will execute the work himself and not on his father’s instructions.

Waiving of the objections regarding Ruchir’s election to the Alwar district association, his lawyers say that it is completely legal till Congressman C P Joshi jumped into the election fray and queered the pitch for young hero.

Joshi, 67, had won the RCA elections in 2009 by defeating Modi when Congress was in power in the state. He had said then that there would be no politics in cricket then.

Alas, RCA elections is all about politics and power play, not in cricketing terms though.

Joshi, while he was in the saddle from 2009, did not do much for Rajasthan cricket. And Lalit Modi came back to win the elections again in 2015.

Without setting a foot in India,Lalit literally remote-controlled RCA elections and won it with his power and charisma.

And just like in Bollywood movies, the hero and anti-hero has had many scuffles before the hero, Lalit Modi finally won over.

Ruchir says his father has nothing to do with Indian cricket anymore and is not remotely interested in RCA elections and that he is here in his own capacity as an administrator here. Observers say it is hard to believe.

But just as Joshi and Ruchir padded up for a game of polls in April this year, the elections were put off. Some say Ruchir got it deliberately postponed who denies it. RCA elections, slated for April 26, were called off on April 22 on the ground that the provisions of the State Sports Act did not conform to the recommendations of the Lodha Committee, under which the polls were to take place. A few provisions of the Supreme Court-appointed Lodha Committee, such as the appointment of an ombudsman and age cap of 70 years for fighting elections, were not in accord with the Sports Act.

It is being said elections were postponed initially because some recent amendments of the RCA were objected to by the state registrar of the cooperative societies. Some of these amendments were carried out allegedly to make Ruchir eligible to contest and some others adopted as per the Lodha Committee recommendation.

The Rajasthan High Court, however, gave the directive after hearing a plea of Bhilwara District Cricket Association (BDCA) president Rampal Sharma, himself a candidate for the RCA top job. In his petition, Sharma had said the RCA elections were cancelled without taking the executive committee into confidence.

High court judge KK Ranka said, “The election process will not be stopped and it will now be held on May 29.”

Till that time, both the camps would indulge in politics and display their money power – perhaps coerce, bribe or buy more votes in their favour. Finally one of them would covet the much desired crown.

However, the one and only difference between a Bollywood movie and RCA polls is that RCA perhaps can never have a happy ending.

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