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Sidhu fails to shine in UP
Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow | April 21, 2007 16:29 IST
Despite his gift for gab, he is more at peace answering queries related to cricket rather than on hard realities of UP politics.
"Board of Cricket Control in India had turned into a big business house and is more interested in filling its coffers than anything else", he roared.
However when asked to comment on the BJP's oft-repeated commitment to building the much-debated Ram temple in Ayodhya, he preferred to shirk away from any straight reply.
"You see there are certain things that only courts can decide," he replied, while going off on a tangent to add, "Religion is a private affair of every individual," before abruptly concluding his press conference at the state BJP headquarter in Lucknow on Saturday.
Earlier, his claims of BJP's capability to provide "clean and crime-free governance" were completely bowled over when another scribe asked him to comment on the number of alleged criminals fielded by his own party in the assembly poll. "I do not carry a list of all the candidates, so how can I answer your question", he shot back.
As per a study carried out by Election Watch, an NGO headed by a top retired police officer, as many as 29 per cent of BJP's contestants are facing criminal charges including murder, attempt to murder, rape, kidnapping and extortion. The party is next only to SP and BSP in fielding such candidates.
Ironically, even as he was extremely emphatic about BJP being opposed to "caste based politics" for which he had been repeatedly flaying his political rivals, Siddhu himself had devoted most of his energies in the Sikh dominated terai belt of the state, where he had been campaigning for the past few days.
Coming to his favourite game, the cricketer-turned-MP from Punjab once again trained his guns on BCCI. "If punitive action was being justified against certain cricketers for their poor performance at the World Cup, how can the BCCI absolve itself of the responsibility; isn't similar action warranted against the board", he asked.
Asked if he felt that politicians were messing up BCCI, he said, "Well all politicians are not bad; it is individuals who matter," adding, "after all Mahatma Gandhi was also a politician and so was Lal Bahadur Shastri or Atal Bihari Vajpayee."
On his claim about BJP being the best bet to take UP on the path to development - a line every other party had adopted - he quipped, "a comparison between the 50 years of governance by Congress and five years of BJP rule would give you the answer."