Communist Party of India (Marxist) Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury on Sunday said the Indian Premier League (IPL) had nothing to do with cricket and that it was misusing the Indian passion for cricket.

Inaugurating a symposium on ‘EMS and the Media,' held in connection with the birth centenary of the former Chief Minister, E.M.S. Namboodiripad, here on Sunday, Mr. Yechury said the IPL was actually being used as a backdrop for shady ventures that ran into thousands of crores of rupees. The source of IPL funds and where they were going had to be probed thoroughly, he said.

Crucial role

With the media too playing a crucial role in the mounting of the IPL spectacle, it was essential to find the source of such money, particularly at a time when the common man was finding it tough to find food and to tackle rising prices.

On Union Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor's alleged involvement in the controversy, Mr. Yechury said Mr. Tharoor, if he genuinely had Kerala's interests at heart, should have fought for the Kochi Metro Rail project or for rectifying the below poverty line (BPL)-above poverty line (APL) categorisation imbroglio in the State.

Earlier, terming EMS a master communicator who was never afraid of controversies and even generated them to mobilise people on various issues, Mr. Yechury said there was no person like him in contemporary Indian politics.

Power of media

EMS believed in the power of the media to mould people's consciousness and to elevate people's thoughts. He was the staunchest defender of freedom of expression and the media. However, the post-EMS era was witnessing a distortion of responsibility of the media to make the judiciary, executive and legislature accountable and to raise issues that they ignored. This was mainly happening through globalisation-fuelled trends for maximisation of profits, he said.

Lucrative institution

With the media turning into a lucrative institution and trends like commercialisation and paid news setting in, the actual role of being the Fourth Estate was relegated to the backseat. Cautioning against agenda-driven media attempts to manufacture people's consent, Mr. Yechury said this was dangerous because people were deprived of their right to know the truth. Parliamentary democracy would be undermined and democracy itself would be restricted to the rich.

Calling for the media too to be part of the solution, which had to be evolved through discussions with the people and the political process, he said the right form of regulation of media too had to be evolved through debate.

Keywords: IPL Kochi team

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