Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Gadkari versus Modi and Shah

On 11/12/2018 election results of five states were out. BJP lost Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh after 15 years and Rajasthan after five years. After that Nitin Gadkari has been critical of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah.
“Party leadership should own up to defeat and failures. Nobody is willing to take responsibility of failure, unlike successes.”
“Leadership should have the tendency to own up the defeat and failures. Loyalty of the leadership towards the organization will not be proved till the time it owns up responsibility for the defeat.”
“If I am the party president and my MPs and MLAs are not doing well then who is responsible?”
Three years back in 2015 after defeat in Bihar election, Lal Krishna Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Shanta Kumar and Yashwant Sinha wanted review of the defeat and fix responsibility. Nitin Gadkari and three other former BJP presidents had issued a statement that victory or defeat was collective responsibility as had happened in the past. Now Gadkari makes contrary statements.
Gadkari is a Nagpur resident. RSS had headquarters in Nagpur. Some think Gadkari’s words come from RSS. Mohan Bhagwat had contradicted Modi on Congress-Free India and said that is a political slogan, RSS wants to take all along.
Chief Ministers lead state governments. Credit for victory or blame for defeat should go to them. However party presidents or Prime Ministers take credit when their party wins in a state, so they should be ready to own defeat also.
After Modi became PM, BJP had its share of ups and downs. It had lost in Delhi and Bihar. It had lost Punjab where its ally SAD was senior partner. Losing Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan is a major blow to BJP unlike any other.
Lok Sabha elections are due in April and May. If BJP does not get 272 seats there will be challenge to Modi’s leadership. Some regional leaders want a non-BJP, non-Congress Front. Modi can not rely on Shiv Sena. Some partners like Apna Dal are playing truant. BJP has lost recent Lok Sabha by-elections in Uttar Pradesh. Gadkari, with the backing of RSS, seems to challenge Modi.

Return of Congress

Congress has returned to power in Rajasthan after 5 years and Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh after 15 years.
Narendra Modi’s Congress-Free India dream is shattered. It may turn into nightmare of BJP-Free India. Congress was able to hold on to power in Karnataka by supporting JD(S). Now it has returned to power in Chhattisgarh.

In Madhya Pradesh out of 230 seats Congress got 114, BJP 109, BSP 2, SP 1, Independents 4.

Ajit Jogi was CM of Chhattisgarh 15 years back. Now he heads Janata Chhattisgarh Congress (J). His alliance with BSP did not get him victory. His party got 5 seats, BSP 2. His plan of playing kingmaker also failed. Congress got 68 seats out of 90. BJP got 15.

In Rajasthan out of 199 seats Congress got 99, BJP 73, BSP 6, CPI(M) 2, others 19. The strength of Rajasthan Legislative Assembly is 200. Election was not held in one constituency.

KCR’s gamble of dissolving Legislative Assembly 10 months ahead of schedule paid off. TRS got 88 seats out of 119. Strange alliance of Congress and TDP failed in Telangana. BJP did not have much chance. Congress got 19, TDP 2, AIMIM 7, BJP 1, Independent 1. KCR now wants to become PM. That is tough. Non-BJP, Non-Congress parties have many leaders like Mamata Banerjee and Mayawati who want to be PM.

Mizo National Front won in Mizoram. It got 26 seats. Congress was in power. It got 5. BJP 1, others 8. Total 40.

In 2003 BJP had won in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. In 2004 it lost Lok Sabha elections at national level. There is no guarantee that Congress will win Lok Sabha elections even if it repeats its success in the three states.

Rahul Gandhi visited many temples. He too played Hindutva card. If you can not beat them, join them. He visited at least one mosque to assure Muslims he was on their side, he has not abandoned them.

Yogi Adityanath campaigned in the states. His record as UP CM is not favourable to get Muslim votes for BJP. His desire to erase all signs of Muslim rule has led to apprehensions outside UP. Change of names from Allahabad to Prayagraj, Faizabad to Ayodhya, Mughalsarai to Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay Nagar has further alienated Muslims after acts of cow protectors.

There are many losers. AAP tops the list. It did not win any seat in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. It got less than 1% of votes. Its candidates lost deposits. BSP, SP and TDP are among losers.

Narendra Modi and Amit Shah will escape blame for BJP loss. It will be termed collective failure as happened after BJP defeat in Bihar in 2015.

Contest for Lok Sabha 2019 is wide open.

Mithali Raj controversy

Women’s cricket in India has come of age.
Mithali Raj was dropped for semi-final against England in Women’s T20 World Cup and India lost the match. It was 22/11/2018 in West Indies and 23/11/2018 in India. The controversy continues unabated and refuses to die down.
India were 89/2 and were all out for 112. England scored 116/2 and won by 8 wickets. At the post match presentation ceremony, Harmanpreet Kaur justified dropping Mithali Raj. She said ‘We did really well against Australia. And that is the reason we just wanted to go with the same combination.” “Whatever we decided, we decided for the team. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, no regrets.” Mithali Raj was not in the team against Australia due to knee injury.
Team management consisted of Captain Harmanpreet Kaur, Vice Captain Smriti Mandhana, Coach Ramesh Powar and selector Sudha Shah.
Mithali Raj’s manager Annish Gupta blamed Harmanpreet Kaur. She tweeted “Unfortunately, the Indian women’s cricket team believes in politics not sport. After witnessing what Mithali Raj’s experience could do in India vs Ireland, it’s shocking that they went with what pleases Harmanpreet Kaur – a manipulative, lying, immature, undeserving captain.” Later she deleted the tweet.
On 26/11/2018 Committee of Administrators (CoA) member Diana Edulji told PTI:
“The management made the decision of not changing a winning combination and that backfired. If India had won the game, I am sure nobody would have questioned their decision.”
“We can’t be questioning the team XI. Another example is of Krunal Pandya, who was thrashed in the first T20 but bounced back strongly yesterday. These things happen in the game.”
“It was a selection matter. There is no need for the CoA to intervene. If they want to have a word with us, then that can be looked at. We only step in when it is required, like it was when Tushar Arothe stepped down.”
This elicited a response from Tushal Arothe who was coach of women’s cricket team and had quit in July 2018.
“Why is Diana contradicting her statement by saying that it was the team management’s decision to drop Mithali Raj? Why did she interfere in team selection during the Asia Cup in Malaysia? At that time too, the team management had taken a decision to drop Pooja Vastrakar in the final.
“However, after the tournament, I, on tour selector Shashi Gupta and skipper Harmanpreet Kaur were summoned by Diana and asked why Vastrakar was not played in the final of the Asia Cup. At that time, I told her that it was the team management’s decision but she had clearly told me that I can’t pick and choose whom to play,”
“Now, within three months, the same person who questioned the team management on selection, is contradicting her own statement. Why did you question the team management on selection at that time? What has changed now? She needs to answer this question.”
Diana Edulji did not want women coaches for women’s team. She had said senior women cricketers bully women coaches.
Same day Mithali Raj and Harmanpreet Kaur met BCCI CEO Rahul Johri and GM (Operations) Saba Karim.
On 27/11/2018 Mithali Raj’s e-mail to Rahul Johri and Saba Karim became public. She blamed Ramesh Powar and Diana Edulji.
Excerpts:
“In all the years I have played cricket for India and under the BCCI, I have always found the board to be open to player grievances and finding an appropriate resolution.
However, for the first time in a 20-year long career I felt deflated, depressed and let down. I am forced to think if my services to my country are of any value to a few people in power who are out to destroy me and break my confidence.
To put things in perspective, I have always reposed faith in Diana Edulji and have always respected her and her position as a member of the COA, Never did I think she will use her position against me, more after hearing what all I had to go through in the Caribbean as I had spoken to her about it. Her brazen support in the press with regard to the decision of my benching in the semi final of the t/20 World Cup has left me deeply distressed, more because she knows the real facts having spoken to me.
Thereafter her statement saying ‘selection is not the COA’s headache’ is like suggesting there is no system of checks and balances and anyone can do anything and get away because they have the backing of people in power.
May I say that I am aware that by writing this email I am making myself even more vulnerable. she is a COA member while I am just a player. For the record, I scored back to back fifties in the games before the semi final, was adjudged player of the match on both occasions, to leave me out in the semi final and go with only three performing batters was a decision that left me baffled as much as it left the whole world.
I have always adhered to protocol and haven’t said a word in the press regarding anything that happened in the West Indies believing that the BCCI is there and in the end ‘my truth ‘ will have an ear there and my matter will be handled justly. But the brazen support of a COA member is a clear sign of bias and also that a stance has already been taken against me. By saying ‘I don’t support someone’ and then going all out to support my benching in the press is prejudice of the clearest sort.
At this juncture I would also like to point out that I have nothing against the T/20 captain Harmanpreet Kaur except for the fact that her call to support the decision of the coach to leave me out of the eleven was baffling and hurtful. I wanted to win the world cup for my country and it hurts me because we lost a golden opportunity. But I am of the opinion that Harman and I are senior players and our issues, if any, should be sorted out by the two of us by sitting across the table.
My issue is with the coach Ramesh Powar and in all stories circulating in the press, I find that issue getting diluted.
My issues with the coach started immediately as we landed in the West Indies. At first there were small signs that his behaviour towards me was unfair and discriminatory but I did not bother much about it.
For instance, walking off if I am sitting anywhere around, watching in the nets when others bat but choosing to walk away when I am batting in nets, if I try to go up to him to talk to start looking into his phone and keep walking. It was embarrassing and very evident to everyone that I was being humiliated. Yet I never lost my cool.
Finding the situation completely out of control and realising that it is important to resolve issues as it affects the team I reached out to the team manager and conveyed my grievances. She convened a meeting at my request between the coach and me in her presence and I spoke to him politely yet firmly about all that was going on.
After the meeting his behaviour turned worse. He would not even acknowledge me. To him I didn’t exist in the team. If I was around he would immediately move away from the scene, if I looked to wish him he would deliberately start looking in other direction. He continued to behave badly as I have already informed you yesterday. It appeared to me that for him the meeting had hurt his ego.
In the game against Ireland also on a tough pitch I scored another match winning performance but unfortunately took a bump on my knee while fielding. The physio advised some rest and said to review it the next day. Because of all the stress I was running low grade fever also. We had no game the next day but there was a training session. The physio advised me to rest it out as there was slight swelling and because I had fever.
In the evening after the team meeting before the Australia game, Ramesh rings up in my room and instructs me not to come to the ground as the media will be there. I was taken aback as to what media has to do with me being with the team. I was told I was not to be with my own team in one of our biggest games. I was shell shocked. I spoke to the manager immediately and told her that I am not seriously injured and only seriously sick and that I want to come and watch my team play. She agreed and told me to come.
But I received a text from Ramesh in a few minutes after my conversation with the manager wherein he told me not to step out of the dressing room. I found it strange why is he getting involved when it was purely the managers’ and physio’s call.
When we reached Antigua for the semi-finals, we had 3 days before we played England. The first day there was no nets, it was just a fielding session, but Ramesh was taking 5 girls for extra practise. When I heard this from one of the girls I thought that since I did not bat for 2 days, I should also join them for practice.
So, I texted Ramesh that I would like to join for the extra training. However, I did not receive any response from him and hence I reached out to the manager. She got back to me saying Ramesh wants you to come with the whole team later and skip the game, so I can bat. I went into the nets and as soon I got into the nets, Ramesh just walked away from the area.
The sign was clear that he had already made up his mind that he didn’t want to play me in the semis.
Coming to the semi finals, usually Ramesh announces the team a day before or on the day of the game before we enter the ground but it was unusual that on the day of the semis, he did not announce the team. It is when Harman walked to toss, he came running to me and said that they were going with the same team. It meant the whole team knew who were playing and it was just me who was not aware.
Also, when the team was getting ready to field in the second innings, it is customary that even those who aren’t playing should join the team huddle as it has always been the norm in our team. But to insult me that day, he sent a word through the manager to tell that it was only the playing eleven that can join in the huddle and the rest can go back to dugout making us feel as outcasts. It was worrying and insulting because the coach was out to destroy and humiliate me.
I couldn’t control my tears having given it my all for 20 years. It seemed my efforts had no value.
In the light of the above, I as captain of India in ODI’s who has given her best for the country, do I have any hope left to be given justice. With Diana turning against me publicly and with the coach’s unjust behaviour, I feel utterly dejected and depressed. As I was told not to go to the media I write this email to you as the last resort. Please advise against the next course of action.”
Trupti Bhattacharya was the manager for T20 World Cup team.
It is sweet revenge for Rahul Johri against Diana Edulji who wanted him sacked even after panel report exonerating him. Vinod Rai and Diana Eduljee are not on good terms.
Win covers all faults, defeat exposes them. No point in Diana Edulji saying “If India had won the game, I am sure nobody would have questioned their decision.” India did not win the game. The decision to drop Mithali Raj is questioned. Ifs and buts do not matter.

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