Updated: November 30, 2021 5:49:33 pm
The BJP in Gujarat’s Gandhinagar, the Lok Sabha constituency represented by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, is planning to host tournaments in cricket and kabaddi under the label Gandhinagar Loksabha Premier League 370, or GLPL 370, to “draw maximum number of youth to the party”, local leaders said.
According to Ahmedabad city BJP unit general secretary Jitubhai Patel, the league is named after Article 370, “which was abrogated in 2019 under Amit Shah’s leadership”, and there are plans to start tournaments in the middle of December.
Harshad Patel, who is the BJP in-charge of Gandhinagar Lok Sabha constituency, told The Indian Express: “The events have been organised to make the (young) voters, whose names are on the voters’ list, pro-BJP. For that, cricket and kabaddi have been selected. The target is to have at least two teams in each ward (one each for cricket and kabaddi).”
Harshad Patel said: “Home Minister Amit Shah first discussed this (idea) with around 8-10 of us in the party.” Subsequently, he said, a meeting of 200-250 party workers was called and various responsibilities assigned.
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For instance, Gujarat MoS Jagdish Vishwakarma, who organised the Karnavati Premier League (KPL) for cricket in Ahmedabad five years ago, has been asked to plan the tournaments. Incidentally, Amit Shah had inaugurated the KPL in 2016.
BJP state unit general secretary, Pradipsinh Vaghela, said: “An entire team of the Lok Sabha constituency is involved. The plan is to organise one kabaddi tournament for the entire constituency and seven cricket tournaments, one for each of its seven assembly segments. The registration of teams is already on.”
The seven assembly segments are Vejalpur, Ghatlodia, Naranpura, Sabarmati, Kalol, Gandhinagar (North) and Sanand. The Lok Sabha constituency has around 1,800 booths across Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar, and local BJP office-bearers have been assigned responsibilities from identifying teams, venues and commentators to framing rules.
The league is currently open for men only, and the cricket matches will be played using tennis balls at grounds rented from local private owners, BJP leaders said. Publicity for the tournament is mainly being done through WhatsApp groups at the ward level, they said.
Shah had been associated with the Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA) since 2007, and played a key role in ending the 16-year reign of Congress leaders in the state unit. Shah was also vice chairman of GCA when the then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was chairman. Shah’s son, Jay Shah, is the current BCCI secretary.
“On the lines of Narendrabhai’s concept of motivating players through Khel Mahakumbh, Amitbhai has got this (cricket and kabaddi tournament) organised. It is being done through his guidance and motivation. By Wednesday, we should be able to get the first lot of registered teams,” said Jitubhai Patel, the Ahmedabad city BJP unit general secretary.
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