The 3rd ODI at Rajkot has turned into a political battleground for BJP and Hardik Patel

Sudipta / 17 October 2015

The 3rd ODI at Rajkot has turned into a political battleground for BJP and Hardik Patel 

The third ODI between India and South Africa at the Saurashtra Cricket Stadium (SCA) stadium in Khandheri  has turned into a political battleground for two political outfits.

Hardik, who is currently finding his name in the front page of every national daily and prime time of news channel for agitation to get the reservation for  his community- Patel, threaten to disrupt Sunday’s match. He alleged that members of the BJP have procured close to 20,000 tickets to negate Patel’s imminent threat. The stadium, which stage international matches replacing old Rajkot Stadium since 2013 has an official capacity of 28,000. The BJP members, according to sources, will enter the stadium wearing T-Shirts that will have Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s image imprinted on them.

However, the Saurashtra Cricket Association secretary Niranjan Shah dismissed all such talk as “mere speculation”, though he failed to give an exact figure of how many tickets were sold or made available to the public.

“Like in the past we have followed all the procedures. The only difference this time is that we have asked ticket buyers to furnish identity cards,” Shah, a veteran cricket administrator, said.

The quota-stir leader in Gujrat, Hardik Patel and his Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), yesterday threatened to block the way of India and South Africa teams to the newly built at Khandheri village Stadium, located on the outskirt of Rajkot city on Sunday, October 18 as tickets were not allegedly sold to his community members. The angry mob ransacked the barricades and burnt banners after they There was trouble reported on Friday morning when an angry mob ransacked the barricades and burnt banners after they found all ticket windows shut at Race Course Ground. This, after sources at the SCA said that they had sold close to 4,500 tickets till Thursday evening.

After this incident security beefed up around the stadium for tomorrow’s match.In all, 2,100 policemen will be positioned at the at the SCA Stadium, which is doubled the numbers usually deployed in ODI security.

 

22-year leader Hardik accused BJP of playing politics over a cricket match. He sent a WhatsApp message from his personal number, asking SCA to “clarify on why they declared that all tickets are sold in spite of the fact that many tickets yet remain unsold.”

He added: “PAAS will block the way of both the teams (of India and South Africa) to the stadium (on the match day) and we will also cordon the entire stadium.

“The (BJP) government was saying till now that the match should not be turned into an agitation venue, but now this government is itself playing politics over the match.”

The clamour between Hardik Patel and BJP  created a shadow over Indian and South African teams on the eve of the match. In the second at Holkar Stadium, Indore India leveled the sereis 1-1 putting a enthralling victory ove the visitor South Africa. 

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