Abu Dhabi. The seventh season of Pepsi Indian Premier League was flagged off in Abu Dhabi with an inaugural speech by AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal. Presence of Kejriwal at the event is being seen as final image makeover attempt by organizers.
However, in his speech, Kejriwal talked nothing about cricket, instead he stayed focused on topics like corruption, gas price rise and Narendra Modi, which obviously made no sense for the foreign guests present there.
Experts say, the way Kejriwal utilized IPL opening ceremony to push his political agenda without directly endorsing IPL, proves his political shrewdness.
But BCCI officials were happy just with his presence. Afraid of steep fall in viewership due to spot-fixing scandal, IPL organizing committee is also eyeing Kejriwal fans at urban centers of India, and is seeing them as potential viewers.
“Among his supporters, he is an epitome of honesty. Now, as his feet have touched the podium, we don’t need anyone else’s certificate,” said an excited IPL official. “We are hopeful that Kejriwal’s guest appearance will make many Indians believe that IPL is clean.”
Meanwhile, after taking a look at latest opinion polls, IPL officials are doubtful about the expected impact of Kejriwal’s speech on IPL viewership.