Thatscricket - ODI Series - India~~s tour of Pakistan- Cricket fever shakes up political campaigning

Published: Monday, March 29, 2004, 21:27 [IST]
Share this on your social network:
   Facebook Twitter Google+    Comments Mail

New Delhi:The ruling party has brought cricket to the campaign trail and the New Delhi city council rescheduled its session to be in front of TVs as India geared up for the decisive One-dayer with Pakistan.

Two Indian fans are reported to have died from heart attacks watching the high-drama matches since the series, now locked at 2-2, which began on March 13.

Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishna Advani is taking no chances that fans would choose cricket over his election campaign rally on Wednesday in the northern city of Chandigarh.

The local chapter of Advani's Bharatiya Janata Party will put up two giant screens so that supporters can see both the Deputy Prime Minister and the match, said Yashpal Mahajan, a party spokesman.

In New Delhi, lawmakers in the city Assembly crossed party lines to advance Wednesday's budget session by four hours so as not to coincide with the cricket match.

"Both the ruling Congress party members of the Legislative Assembly as well as those from the opposition requested that they be allowed to watch the match," said Assembly speaker Lalit Maken.

The series is India's first full tour of Pakistan in nearly 15 years, prompting the state-run railways and Indian Airlines to operate special services to ferry Indian fans to and from Pakistan.

"The second train left on Monday and there was a good demand for air-conditioned carriages," said railways spokesman D P S Sandhu, referring to well-heeled fans hoping to travel in style to the Pakistani stadiums.

Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, a respected orator, campaigned on Monday in Uttar Pradesh, the home-state of One-day specialist Mohammad Kaif, and to thunderous applause narrated the player's valiant batting that saw India overcome Pakistan in Sunday's match.

"Who says kids of Uttar Pradesh are not fit to play cricket?" said Vajpayee, who has called to congratulate India's cricket team after both their wins. "Kaif has proved that they can," he said.

The tourists kept their cool in the make-or-break fourth game on Sunday in Lahore to overtake Pakistan's seemingly unbeatable 293 for nine with five overs to spare. Kaif was unbeaten on 71 runs.

Write Comments