When news is floating about Baba Ramdev and his company Patanjali bidding for the title of Indian premier League (IPL), Lalit Shastri, the Editor-in-Chief of Newsroom24x7 says he is reminded of a connected development several years ago when Indian Tobacco Company (ITC) was the main sponsor of the Wills World Cup.
Shastri points out that at that time late Madhavrao Scindia was a Union Minister from Madhya Pradesh and at one of his press conferences, he had asked Scindia “why allow a cigaratte producing company sponsore Cricket – a game that leaves over-riding impact on the young generation”? Scindia had responded by saying why rake this issue at all. It is a corporate matter and let’s leave it at that”.
Shastri went on to recollect and inform that he had waited for the opportunity and when Ms Uma Bharti, the firebrand BJP leader, got the Sports portfolio in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Government, he once more raised the same question at her maiden press conference in Bhopal after she was sworn-in as Minister. Immediately she left the question but after the press meet, she met Shastri on the sideline and asked him to explain the matter. When he had briefed her about the issue raised by him, she had responded positively saying: “let me do something about it”. On landing in Delhi, the first thing she did was that she called her officers and passed necessary instructions. Soon thereafter the ITC sponsorship of Cricket was dropped and a fresh bid was invited. After that Sahara sponsored Cricket for many years.