The Delhi District Cricket Association (DDCA) has decided to rename the Feroze Shah Kotla stadium after the former finance and defence minister of India, the late Arun Jaitley. The former BJP leader passed away on August 24.
It has to be remembered that Jaitley was also involved with cricket for a long time and served as the President of DDCA for 13 years, begining in 1999. Under his watch, the stadium was renovated and its capacity was greatly increased.
While there were the odd controvery relating to the veteran politician's role as a cricket administrator, he received the full backing and support of cricketers who worked with him. Gautam Gambhir, a Delhi cricketer who went on to became a key member of the Indian team, was a big supporter of Jaitley and even campaigned for him during 2014 Lok Sabha elections in Amritsar constituency. Similarly, Aakash Chopra, the former Delhi captain and Indian Test opener often praised the former finance minister for his role in developing the game under his supervision.
However, in late 2015 and 2016, the Aam Aadmi Party and former cricketers led by Bishen Singh Bedi and Keerti Azad levelled allegations of financial irregularities and mismanagement by the lawyer-turned-politician during his tenure as DDCA president. This led to uproar in Parliament and, in a rare moment of anger, Jaitley responded to the allegations with force.
He also filed a defemation case against several leaders of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) for making allegations against him and his family. Eventually, Arvind Kejriwal, chief minister of Delhi and senior AAP leader, had to issue an apology to the Jaitley.
The stadium being named after him has a history that dates back a long way. It was in 1974 that the stadium hosted it's first ever Test match - India vs West Indies. It has since been a very important venue in the international calendar and serves as the home of Delhi Capitals in the IPL as well.