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By Ikram Khan
Saturday 28 Apr 2018
Ikram Khan

It is clear that the managing committee of the Bangalore Turf Club (BTC) has lost its plot. The need of the hour is to focus and tide over the financial crisis. But the committee is busy plotting and planning on how to get rid of the individuals including the media who don’t toe their line. The problem with the men calling the shots is that they want the journalists to dance to their tunes and dish out positive articles praising the committee, never mind if they have got it all wrong or making no effort to get the club out of the oxygen tent.

This is a joke. No journalist worth his salt will agree to this rubbish. It’s not a Banana Republic. They slammed the door on one without a notice or a charge and when asked for the reason disclosed that Sharan Kumar was Good, Bad and Ugly. Good only to the people he fancied and liked. Bad for the establishment and the game which needs promotion and not destruction and Ugly to a few members of the committee who he chose to target. Well Clint Eastwood too will only laugh. The committee, it appears is enjoying playing Dirty Harry while their job is to work For A Few Dollars More.

After twice promising to resolve the issue. The committee backed out. They believe that they can muzzle the press. And that stems from the fact that it was the pressmen who brokered for peace understanding that the club was down on its knees following the CID enquiry ordered by the government and the suspension of operations for a four-month period. Like always the committee got it wrong again. They thought that the media was pleading a case not realising that the media can walk away and report on the other 21 disciplines of sport rather than stick or suck up to the people who are conducting this sport in autocratic fashion at this centre.

Agreed that a couple of articles from the scribe kept out may have crossed the line. Agreed that he may be kind to his chosen few. But why no consideration is given to many write-ups from the scribe supporting the club in the fight against the syces and when former Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa pushed the club to shift out. You just cannot shun a pressman simply because you don’t like his face or appreciate his critical examination of the issues.

 It is clear from the BTC stand that it no more wants the media. Good luck to them. You don’t need to be inside to open the Pandora’s box, you can very well do it sitting outside like the bookmakers are doing, the moment they were shunted out.

Well talking about bookmakers. The wise men who shunted them out now want them back. It is learnt that at the first meeting they asked for a King’s ransom to accommodate them. The bookies the committee should understand or not babies sucking lollipops. They are shrewd and they understand the situation and they know how to strike a bargain. They threw out the first proposal made by the club. Stunned the committee set up a second meeting and from Rs 50 crore first proposal, the club was willing and ready to close it at 25 crore. This too was not accepted, the bookmakers making a take it or leave it 22 crore offer including the GST. The committee should understand that they cannot push people against the wall and hope that they will not react and fall in line. Not in the democratic set up.

In another incident in which the committee lost its face is the sacking of their senior Communications Manager Lokendra Babu, who had been working for three decades without a charge. The gutsy staffer decided to take the bull by its horns. He approached the High Court with a writ petition and gained an interim order in his favour. Stumped, the BTC requested him to rejoin and continue. Justice Bopanna who gave relief to BTC earlier to save the suffering of daily wage employees said that even if an employee is on a contract basis, the services cannot be dispensed with in this fashion. This hit the advisors and the decision makers hard and hopefully they will exercise caution while dealing with serious issues in the months ahead.