Vasundhara Raje aided Lalit Modi's rise

Lalit Modi reportedly used his proximity to Ms. Raje and firmly established himself in the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

Updated - November 16, 2021 04:59 pm IST

Published - June 17, 2015 03:45 am IST - NEW DELHI:

Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje’s alleged support to Lalit Modi’s efforts to immigrate to the United Kingdom in 2011, a year after he fled following FEMA charges, left the government embarrassed on Tuesday.

Ms. Raje’s support, however, should hardly cause any surprise in Rajasthan. Mr. Modi’s meteoric rise in cricket was aided by Ms. Raje when she was Chief Minister between 2003 and 2008. He was hailed for his sensational sweep to power in the Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) because he ended the more than three-decade rule by the Rungta family.

It was the Sports Act introduced by the State government that helped Mr. Modi pull off a coup. The Act annulled the voting rights of the individual members of the RCA and instead passed on the mantle to the 33 districts. It nullified the 67-member RCA voting list. The new body was picked by the districts.

Vasundhara’s backing allowed Modi’s RCA coup

Mr. Modi, introduced to cricket circles by former Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president I. S. Bindra, reportedly used his proximity to Ms.Raje and firmly established himself in the BCCI.

He was chiefly instrumental in launching the Indian Premier League (IPL), one of the biggest money spinners in the world of sport.

“He did a good turn by removing the Rungta rule but became an autocrat because none would question his decisions. His proximity to the Chief Minister mattered a lot in Jaipur,” said a former RCA member.

Old timers in Rajasthan cricket credit Mr. Modi with revamping the State’s cricket structure. “He created a fantastic infrastructure but also invited trouble with his domineering style,” added the RCA official.

Goes out of power

Mr. Modi went out of power when he lost the RCA stronghold to Congress leader C. P. Joshi but came back strongly in 2014 when the former decide not to contest elections. The move cost RCA dear as the BCCI banned the unit for having elected Mr. Modi, who had, a year earlier, been banned by the BCCI for life on charges of irregularities. BJP leader Arun Jaitley was part of the committee that had recommended strong action against Mr. Modi.

A no-confidence motion was brought against Mr. Modi last year after he had managed to gain control of the RCA, with his comeback being linked to Ms. Raje’s return to power. The no-confidence motion ended in violence at the venue and the matter is now in court. Cricket officials in Jaipur, however, point out that Ms. Raje did not involve herself in the RCA matters this time.

“Had the Chief Minister shown interest, the no-confidence motion against Mr. Modi would have been defeated easily,” concluded the RCA official.

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