The otherwise soft spoken Kerala Sports Minister V.Abdurahiman’s now-hugely controversial statement that those “starving need not go and watch the ODI match” (between India and Sri Lanka) on Monday came under fire from the Congress and CPI.
While the state-of-the-art stadium in the capital city which has the track record of an overflowing spectator participation during international cricket matches, on Sunday witnessed a turnout of mere 7,000, down from the 40,000 at the last match held.
Leader of Opposition V.D.Satheesan said the statement of the Sports Minister was full of rudeness and arrogance.
“And that was reflected in the very poor turnout at the Greenfield Stadium for the third ODI between India and the visiting Sri Lanka side. Even though the time has run out, the least the erring Minister can now do is render an apology for his curt remarks. Just see the turnout and this is a loss to the state economy too and not to forget even legends like Neyymar and Messi took to the social media to thank the huge sporting Kerala people and it’s that time a State Minister belittles our people and the result was seen also,” said Satheesan.
A top CPI leader and former Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha member Panniyan Ravindran said it was most unfortunate to see the turnout on Sunday.
“The loss is not just for the Kerala Cricket Association (KCA), but for the state. If we do not get international matches it’s a huge loss for the people and the government. Instead of creating a controversy, better sense should prevail,” said Ravindran.
Early this month, while interacting with the media on the match, Abdurahiman had said, “What is the need of reducing the tax? The demand is that the country is witnessing price rise, so the tax should be reduced. Those who are starving need not go and watch the match”.
What has come as a shocker was CPI(M) state secretary M.V.Govindan giving a clean chit to the minsiter saying there was nothing wrong in what was said.
However, the political gravevine is abuzz with rumours that a section in the KCA is “happy” about the controversy as they were not too keen to hold cricket events in the state capital city. Instead, they preferred it at the commercial capital of the state- Kochi.
With a poor turnout, the section not keen on Thiruvananthapuram is hopeful of the BCCI making Kochi the venue for the upcoming World Cup to be played in the country.