The irony is inescapable as much as it hurts. Today's newspapers front-paged the Tata's decision to roll out Nano even while breaking the news of BCCI's move to organize IPL matches outside India. The Nano roll-out shows the best, most heroic face of Indian business; the other, the worst. No businessman except Ratan Tata would have ventured with a new car in these distressed times for the Indian economy. When he staked the future of Tata Motors with Indica, it was a big gamble, but for that reason, he never redacted on his vision for India's automobile sector.

Bringing out a one-lakh-rupee car was, in contrast, a smaller gamble (apart from its technological and costs' challenges), but it got bigger when the economy got pulled down by Western economies. It would have been sensible to defer the Nano launch by a year, when people were staggering back to buy. But Ratan Tata has done the counter-intuitive thing, and the stock markets rose in appreciation of it today. It does not minimize his gamble at all. But that's the supreme risk-taker, Ratan Tata, for you.

Now consider the IPL run by a dodgy character called Lalit Modi. When IPL match dates clashed with the Lok Sabha elections, and the Union home minister, P.Chidambaram, justifiably asked the T-20 tournament to be rescheduled before or after the polls, Modi told the media that things were under control. On one hand, he said that IPL would manage its own security. On the other hand, he was apparently wooing state governments to prioritize security for the tournament over the elections, which got Chidambaram rightly incensed.

Let's get this clear. General elections are national priority number one, not IPL. On matters of internal security, the buck stops with Chidambaram. As home minister, he is ultimately responsible for the optimum management of security (excluding armed) forces. If in his opinion, both the general elections and IPL matches cannot be simultaneously provided adequate security cover, that opinion has to be accepted unquestioned. But that is not the case.

The BJP's Narendra Modi and Arun Jaitley have both condemned the Centre for not guaranteeing security to IPL matches forcing their shift abroad. They say this has lowered India's image with the unstated insinuation that it has placed India level with Pakistan. This is low politics and hyperbole. If Chidambaram had said no security could be provided to IPL, even before or after the polls, then Modi and Jaitley had a valid point. But that is not the case. Test matches have been held in India before this, and indeed days after the Bombay massacre, without incident. That is not so with Pakistan, where visiting cricketers have been targeted after breach of security. The Union home ministry was entirely reasonable in asking for the IPL matches to be rescheduled for the polls. The match organizers say rescheduling would be impossible. This is bogus. The venues and match dates have not been finalized, and probably a thousand other things are pending. With so much open-endedness, it is a lie that rescheduling is impossible.

As much as the Nano roll-out is an attempt to kick-start the national economy, the BCCI-IPL decision to play abroad hurts national pride. One of the BCCI heavyweights and its former president, Sharad Pawar, is part of the Union cabinet, and a leading prime-ministerial aspirant in the general elections. He should have had the political sagacity to convince IPL to hold the matches after the polls.

Instead, for taking a principled stand, in fact, the only stand that can be taken, Chidambaram is being attacked from all sides, but especially by the BJP leadership, which should know better than to question national security decisions. If BCCI persists with the decision to play IPL matches outside India, its status as the “single national governing body of India” should be scrapped.