June 02, 2014

From the IPL to the Indian Parliamentary League

I landed in Delhi this morning for the IPL: the Indian Parliamentary League. This past evening, on Sunday, June 1, I was in Bangalore for the other IPL: the Indian Premier League. It was a delight to see Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) win, and I hope this heralds a good week.

I’m more a soccer fan than a cricket fan, I must confess, and I don’t usually have club loyalties. I don’t follow the EPL or the IPL with fervour and prefer matches – whether the FIFA World Cup or limited-overs cricket – where countries play each other. This year, persuaded by my 18-year-old daughter, I made an exception for the IPL. Together, father and daughter saw two games at the Eden Gardens and then flew to Bangalore for the final.

We politely refused KKR’s gracious offer to be guests in the team owner’s box. There’s nothing like watching a sports game in the midst of ordinary crowds and enthusiasts, and cheering with a thousand others. That’s what we did on Sunday.

I expected Robin Uthappa, the Bangalore boy who’s been so devastatingly good for KKR this season, to fire away in the final. Inexplicably he failed. Two unlikely heroes emerged. Wriddhiman Saha, a tiny young man from Siliguri, north Bengal, and resident of Rajarhat, a new township near Kolkata, played an unbelievable innings for King’s XI Punjab. Next Manish Pandey, a lad from Nainital who lives in Bangalore and plays for Karnataka in the Ranji Trophy, delivered a spellbinding 94 for KKR. It was a pulsating contest, made sweeter by Kolkata’s victory.

The new parliamentary session begins this week. In the days and weeks and months and years to come, the 16th Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha will throw up new and unlikely stars. The opposition is now in government but the old government is not quite in opposition. The BJP will depend on its new batting order to put up a good score. The Congress, with only 44 seats, is short of piercing fast bowlers; it will be for parties such as the AIADMK, the Trinamool Congress and the BJD to spin a web around the new government and confound it with their googlies. Inevitably, hitherto unheralded parliamentary heroes will emerge. The game is on.

Derek O’Brien
Member of Parliament
Chief Whip in the Rajya Sabha and National Spokesperson, Trinamool Congress