Union Home Minister Amit Shah today sidestepped the controversy with Bishan Singh Bedi over the unveiling of Arun Jaitley’s statue at Feroz Shah Kotla grounds, saying there are “two kinds of people in cricket”.
“One is people who play. The second is people who make an atmosphere for playing cricket. Their contribution is also a lot. For that we are unveiling statue,” Mr Shah said while unveiling the statue on Arun Jaitley’s birth anniversary.
The former Union minister and the DDCA chief had died in August last year. But the prospect of having his statue at Delhi’s premier cricket ground had set off a huge controversy, with Mr Bedi shooting off a letter to the cricket body citing his objections.
In the letter addressed to Rohan Jaitley, the son of Arun Jaitley, the spin legend renounced his membership of the cricket body and asked it to remove his name from the spectators’ stand, named after him in 2017.
Lashing out at the DDCA culture, which he alleged promotes nepotism and puts “administrators ahead of cricketers”, Mr Bedi wrote that since the late administrator was primarily a politician, it’s the Parliament which needs to “remember him for posterity.”
“Sporting arenas need sporting role models. The place of the administrators is in their glass cabins,” he added in the scathing letter.
Mr Shah said over the last years, two events gave direction to Indian cricket, the first of which was the match rights sell decision and the other was the Indian Premier League or IPL.
“When IPL was considered, people like me used to watch from a distance. There were a lot of questions in our mind regarding regular matches, legal framework etc… I used to speak with Jaitley. He used to have all the answers that time,” Mr Shah said.
The late administrator, he said, was “very confident clear”.
“He remained in the background but gave it a shape and handles all confusion and queries.. put things back on track and gave an opportunity to people to choose cricket as a career. There was a point of time when people did not look as cricket as career but now they do,” he added.
Arun Jaitley, Mr Shah said, was there “whenever I was in trouble in my life”.
“Arunj ji was with me like an elder brother he held my finger and took me out of trouble. I will have to acknowledge it — he did it without fear. In my case he did not bother about his public image,” Mr Shah said.