New Delhi: The Delhi and Districts Cricket Association (DDCA) election on June 30 has all the makings of being a fight to the finish. Lavish parties are being thrown and expensive gifts are being distributed. Although Supreme Court Bar Association President Vikas Singh is part of a triangular contest, this is a straight battle between former India cricketer & 1983 World Cup winner Madan Lal and India TV owner Rajat Sharma.
As the campaign enters its final leg, “Maddipa”, as Madan Lal is fondly known in cricketing circles, is counting on the endorsement of some of the biggest names in Indian cricket, which includes almost all members of 1983 world cup winning team, to tilt the scales in his favour.
“I am overwhelmed by their gestures and want to do justice to my home association,” he said. “I know a lot of people have been raising the issue that why I have chosen to fight the election since Delhi politics is very dirty. My answer is if we don’t fight the bad elements then who will.”
Clearly, Lal is banking on his clean image. Even his rival Vikas Singh admits Lal’s personal credentials are impeccable but insists the same can’t be said about the rest of the members on his ticket. Former president CK Khanna has fielded his wife Shashi Khanna for the post of vice-president and former vice-president Chetan Chauhan’s brother Pushpendra Chauhan is among those in Lal’s team.
“Madan Lal is a gentleman and I too respect him a lot,” said Singh. “However, I find it very odd that the group which is backing him has brought notoriety to DDCA and can’t be defended. I personally would not have even contested had he contested independently.”
An estimated 3,600 members are believed to be eligible to vote on June 30. It is being seen as a fresh beginning in DDCA since the proxy voting system has been done away with and members are required to vote directly.
Both Lal and Sharma have launched aggressive social media campaigns as well to supplement their campaigns. While Lal has the support of icons such as Kapil Dev, Sunil Gavaskar and Bishan Singh Bedi, Sharma has the support of another member of the 1983 World Cup winning team Yashpal Sharma and former India bowler Chetan Sharma, who are incidentally analysts on India TV as well. India TV’s latest recruit Virender Sehwag has also thrown his weight behind Sharma as have former Delhi captains Aakash Chopra and Gautam Gambhir.
Interestingly, India coach Ravi Shastri and Harbhajan Singh have backed both Lal and Sharma who also claims to have the blessings of former DDCA chief Arun Jaitley though the current finance minister hasn’t said so publicly. Sharma was awarded the prestigious Padma Bhushan in 2015 for his service in the field of literature and education and is currently the president of the News Broadcasters Association (NBA).
Both Lal and Sharma have several common themes in their agenda including ensuring a clean atmosphere at the Feroze Shah Kotla ground, better club facilities for members, transparency in election and team selection, a T20 league and building top-class cricket academies.
“When I go to Mumbai or Bangalore I see the kind of pride their players take in the MCA and KSCA,” says Lal. “I want the same kind of respect for DDCA which has produced the stalwarts of Indian cricket.”