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Shashi Tharoor gives clarification on his remark about boycott of India vs Sri Lanka third ODI

India won the ODI with a record-breaking margin of 317 runs.

Shashi Tharoor

Congress MP from Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram, Shashi Tharoor, on Monday gave clarification on his remark which allegedly led to low attendance during India vs Sri Lanka third ODI played in the city on Sunday. Tharoor claimed that his remark was misinterpreted by some and said that boycotts should only target the person against whom boycotters are protesting. Boycotting the game will only hurt the prospects of cricket in Thiruvananthapuram, he added.

Tharoor was referring to Kerala’s Sports Minister V Abdurahiman, who had shot back over complaints of high ticket prices, saying those who can’t afford it need not attend the match, upsetting the state’s cricket fans.

Mr Tharoor, who was present at the stadium to watch the match, blamed the poor attendance on the Sports Minister’s remark. However, the Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) said the low turnout was due to the ongoing Sabarimala pilgrimage season, the Pongal festival, and some CBSE exams scheduled to commence from Monday.

“Boycotts are a democratic right, but they should target the person against whom the boycotters are protesting. I have nothing against those who were understandably outraged by the Minister’s callous comment that those who can’t afford to buy a ticket need not attend the match. The Sports Minister, who didn’t bother enough to even attend the match, doesn’t care if the gallery is full or empty. He was unaffected by the boycott. The protestors should have boycotted the Minister, not the game. The boycott only hurt the future prospects of cricket in Tvm,” he said in a series of tweets clarifying his remark.

The Congress MP said the KCA, “which has nothing to do with the Minister or his insensitive comments”, needed a good turnout to bolster its case for Thiruvananthapuram to be selected as a World Cup venue later this year. “If the low turnout yesterday is held against us by the Indian Cricket Board, only sports fans will suffer,” he added.

He said his remarks at the stadium yesterday were partially reported and distorted by some, and that he, as a cricket fan and the local MP, only wants top-class cricket to flourish in the constituency.

“What is the need for reducing the tax? The argument is that the country is witnessing the phenomenon of price rise, so the tax should be reduced. Those who are starving need not go to watch the match,” the Minister had earlier said.

I think it was illogical to boycott the match: Shashi Tharoor

Speaking to reporters, Mr Tharoor had said the Minister could have avoided saying what he said, and the public ought to have not boycotted the match. “I saw some campaigns on social media calling for a boycott of the match. It appears their campaign was effective. I think it was illogical to boycott it. I was fortunate to watch the match, so were those who came here,” the Congress MP said.

CPI(M) State secretary M V Govindan, however, came to the aid of the minister by saying that Mr Abdurahiman only meant to say that those who are poor may not be able to come and watch the match.

“It was the media who made his statement controversial,” Mr Govindan said.


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