J R Shridharan

VIJAYAWADA: Which is the most sought after game of the city politicians? The answer is cricket.

But the fact of the matter is their sudden love and admiration for the game has many political compulsions.

Keen to get close to the youth vote bank, which is being touted as the trump card for the forthcoming assembly and parliament elections, all the major political parties are vying with each other in conducting cricket tournaments.

First it was Chiranjeevi fans association, which conducted a cricket tournament a month ago with the motive to lure the youth.

Then the Youth Congress without any hesitation announced a cricket tournament involving youth of all the Assembly constituencies in the Vijayawada Parliamentary Constituency, naming each team after the popular schemes launched by the Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy.

As if to prove that they are not lagging behind in the race, the Telugu Desam party led by former Member of Parliament Gadde Ram Mohan Rao and other city leaders announced the holding of a cricket tournament naming each team after the achievements of the Chandrababu Naidu regime.

But the newfound love towards cricket received a mixed response from the cricketing fraternity of the district.

“If they are really in with love cricket they (the elected representatives of municipal corporation) would not have opposed a proposal for constructing an indoor cricket stadium at the Indira Gandhi Municipal Stadium,” pointed out a senior administrator in anonymity.

Andhra Cricket Association keen to promote the cricket among youngsters came out with a proposal to construct an indoor stadium with floodlights at IGMC Stadium, which was strongly opposed by a majority of corporators belonging to both the Congress and Telugu Desam parties in the general body meeting of the City’s Municipal Corporation.