Spin legend Bishan Singh Bedi has threatened to take legal action against the DDCA if his name is not removed from a spectators’ stand at the Feroz Shah Kotla ground with immediate effect. On Wednesday, Bedi had shot a letter to the Delhi and District Cricket Association, lambasting it for installing a statue of its late former President Arun Jaitley at the Kotla. In the absence of any response from DDCA, Bedi wrote another letter to the cricket body on Saturday. “It’s been a few days since I wrote to you … While within minutes of my letter going public I had the overwhelming support of the cricket fraternity across the globe. But I’m sad there’s been no reaction from you,” Bedi wrote in his letter addressed to DDCA President Rohan Jaitley.
“… I hope in our country people still have a right to decide as individuals what they wish to be associated with & where their nameplates can hang with dignity. Please don’t push me to take a legal recourse.”
Bedi had also decided to renounce his membership of the DDCA. In his scathing letter, Bedi questioned the DDCA president’s “ill-advised” and “inexplicable” silence.
“Your seemingly ill-advised silence to my letter that has triggered a public debate about perpetuating politicians at sporting venues exposes your naivety,” he wrote.
“Your inexplicable silence also underlines guilt of occupying a position of power solely because of your family name, which, you obviously wish to promote, come what may.
“Finally, I hope you will have the basic courtesy to reply to a former cricketer who is not asking for a favour, but wants his cricketing integrity not to be bartered away.”
The statue of Jaitley will be unveiled by BCCI president Sourav Ganguly at Kotla on Monday in the presence of union home minister Amit Shah and former BCCI chief Anurag Thakur, among others. Bedi said he did not wish to be associated with the cricket stadium which has a statue of the late politician, who was a minister in the BJP-led NDA government and died last year owing to multiple health issues.
“I’ve been around long to know DDCA has a tradition of ignoring cricketers’ voice, hence this reminder. There’s a reason for my urgent request,” the 74-year-old said.
“… Not for a day or even a minute would I feel better to be part of a cricket stadium which has a statue of a person, who I strongly believe, brought down cricketing values in the Capital hugely to say the least.
“No, I don’t wish a stand in my name when late Arun Jaitley’s statue is erected without any visible shame.”
Jaitley was DDCA president for 14 years, from 1999 to 2013, before quitting cricket administration. The body plans to have a six-foot statue of him installed at the Kotla to honour his memory. DDCA had named one of the stands after Bedi in November 2017 along with another former India player Mohinder Amarnath.
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