New Delhi: Cricket's charisma clearly did not work for Congress in the Lok Sabha elections 2014. For the BJP, it was partially successful, the glorious uncertainties of the game notwithstanding. The anti-Congress wave stumped two of India's finest cricketers - Mohammed Azharuddin and Mohammed Kaif. The pro-BJP mood may have swept the oppositions of its feet but left former cricket Board honcho Arun Jaitley high and dry.
Kirti Azad, a member of the 1983 World Cup-winning side, was the only man who saved cricket's face. The BJP veteran and former off-spinner spun his magic web in his favourite hunting ground, Darbhanga, a constituency which has made him third time successful.
Congress' strategy to play Azharuddin on a new wicket backfired badly on the stylish Hyderabadi batsman. One of India's most successful captains, Azharuddin made his political debut five years back, winning the Moradabad seat in Uttar Pradesh. The voters of Tonk-Sawai Madhopur were simply no impressed. Azhar's personal charisma was not good enough to 'score' votes.
A core member of Sourav Ganguly's brave hearts, Kaif made a miserable political debut. A boy from a middle-class family from Allahabad, Congress fielded the ace batsman from Phulpur in UP. The hero of India's NatWest Trophy victory versus England in 2002 was clean bowled by BJP's Keshav Prasad Maurya. It was truly a baptism of fire for Kaif, who will have miles to go in the world of politics.
Apart from Kirti Azad, cricket will have its seat in the Upper House of the Parliament. Congress nominated Sachin Tendulkar as a Rajya Sabha member last year.
The suave Jaitley, who was instrumental in the BCCI banning former IPL chairman Lalit Modi on account of financial wrongdoings and banned ex-Test bowler Sreesanth for spot-fixing, was horribly 'yorked' in Amritsar. The BJP's move to axe Navjot Singh Sidhu and insert Jaitley on a wicket that was probably tailor-made for the former Test opener, backfired. Jaitley, who is a DDCA vice-president, lost to Captain Amarinder Singh of Congress.
With BJP all set to form the government at the Centre, Jaitley could well resurrect his career as a top cricket administrator. He had given up his position as BCCI vice-president in September last year. Many see Jaitley as BCCI's next president and East Zone will be more than willing to nominate him given the country's political scenario.