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Chup raho, MPs to Greg
Tribune News Service

Cricket fans and political activists burn a poster of the Indian cricket team in protest against the team's bad performance against South Africa
Cricket fans and political activists burn a poster of the Indian cricket team in protest against the team's bad performance against South Africa outside the house of team member Mohd Kaif in Allahabad on Monday. — PTI photo

New Delhi, November 27
Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee today led his parliamentarian colleagues to tick off Indian cricket coach Greg Chappel saying he need not “dictate to us”.

As Members of Parliamentarians attacked Mr Chappel for the comments yesterday in Cape Town, Mr Chatterjee told newspersons that the Indian team team was not playing well and needed to improve.

“But let nobody dictate to us,” he said without taking the coach’s name.

MPs cutting across the party line attacked Mr Chappel for his comments yesterday after the loss against South Africa and one of them went to the extent of threatening a privilege motion against him.

“If Members of Parliament are willing, a privilege motion can be moved against Chappel,” Minister for Women and Child Welfare Renuka Choudhary told a TV news channel.

Mr Chappel had said in Cape Town, last evening that he was not surprised by the sharp criticism from the MPs following India’s poor show in the one-dayers so far.

He said MPs were doing their job. “I am not surprised. They (MPs) are paid to do so in Parliament,” the Indian coach said in his post-match press conference after India’s 106-run defeat in the third ODIs.

CPI MP Gurdas Dasgupta said the former Australian captain “had no business” to make such comments.

“Chappel does not understand nuances of democracy,” he said.

“Let nobody lecture us” on what the MPs job is, Samajwadi MP Mohan Singh said.

“Chappel is responsible for India’s poor show,” another SP MP Shahid Siddiqui said.

Expressing anger at Team India coach Greg Chappell’s “denigratory’” comment on parliamentarians, CPM MPs Basudeb Acharia and Salim Ahmad said the coach had “messed up the cricket squad” and asked the BCCI to take full responsibility for the team’s dismal performance.

“The BCCI should restrain the coach from denigrating the institution of Parliament as the people’s representatives have got every right to criticise the coach,” they told mediapersons here.

“We are duty-bound to give voice to the peoples anger and frustration, particularly among the youth, over the performance of the cricket coach who has been given a free hand for the last few years but has miserably failed to galvanise the team.”

Mr Chappell owed an explanation to the nation for his remark about the MPs and for “messing up the whole cricket team,” Mr Acharia said.

Mr Mohammad, the Deputy floor leader, alleged that the “sports mafia in the country had been pampering the sport of cricket for the sake of big money, big connections and at the cost of other games”.

In reply to questions on Mr Chappell’s apology or his possible removal, the Left leaders said, “We want more transparency and accountability on his part. He cannot get immunity from criticism when his conduct becomes unbecoming.”

On BCCI chief Sharad Pawar’s remark that Mr Chappell had not denigrated the dignity of Parliament, they said if Mr Pawar had the right to defend his coach, they had got every right to defend the prestige of Parliament.

Mr Chappell had incurred the wrath of parliamentarians for his comment that he was not surprised at the criticism from MPs for ‘’they are paid to do so’’.

In the Lok Sabha, Mr Salim and Mr Acharia wanted a debate on the issue with support from SP members but Speaker Somnath Chatterjee felt the House should not deviate from its custom and discuss someone who was not present in the House.

Senior BJP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Vijay Kumar Malhotra asked Mr Pawar to take harsh steps to revive the team’s performance.

Parliamentarian Ramdas Athawale too has been vocal on the issue and the RPI leader has demanded Chappell’s immediate sacking, along with a few non-performing players, ‘’to put the side back on its winning ways’’.

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