The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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'Umpire' bowls and wins Dalmiya casting vote coup

Calcutta, Sept. 29: Outgoing Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Jagmohan Dalmiya's casting vote prevented Union minister Sharad Pawar from emerging his successor, but at least four campwallahs defected.

While winner Ranbir Singh Mahendra insisted there was 'nothing wrong' with his 16-15 election at the AGM, Pawar slammed Dalmiya for acting as the 'bowler and umpire' in getting him dismissed.

Later, Dalmiya reacted acerbically: 'It happens to batsmen who play cross-batted shots.... I wish Pawar had made the observation on the floor of the house.'

Significantly, as recently as in 2001, Dalmiya's predecessor A.C. Muthiah used his casting vote to get Niranjan Shah elected secretary at the expense of Jaywant Lele.

Pawar took exception ' it's another matter he would surely have done the same ' to Dalmiya successfully challenging the appointment of a 'commissioner' to chair the elections.

Moreover, Pawar felt the decision by Justice (retd) B.P. Banerjee, invited by the BCCI to act somewhat as an arbiter, debarring Maharashtra was intended to ' and did ' hit him hard.

'However, I'm not going to move court.... The BCCI is a sports body and...,' Pawar pointed out. Yet, he said he can't speak on Maharashtra's behalf. In other words, that association may explore legal options.

Obviously, Pawar had been banking on the commissioner, Justice (retd) S. Mohan, for 'justice'. Instead, sitting in the chair, Dalmiya exercised the all-important casting vote.

Actually, he voted twice ' the first use of his franchise being routine.

The Maharashtra setback apart, Pawar found that old Rajasthan hand Kishore Rungta couldn't be prevented from attending the AGM and, thereafter, casting his vote.

As with Maharashtra, where two gentlemen claimed the right to represent the state, Rungta had to tackle one Lalit Modi, reportedly very close to Rajasthan's BJP chief minister Vasundhara Raje Scindia.

Justice Banerjee, though, ruled Modi had no locus standi.

According to The Telegraph's sources, the Dalmiya group feels particularly let down by Goa, Gujarat, Hyderabad and 'at least' one other association. The needle of suspicion points to a state each from central, (surprisingly) east and south zone.

'It's difficult identifying everybody who defected, but we do have a reasonable idea.... Pawar used his connections in the world of politics to influence voters who would normally have gone with Dalmiya,' said somebody in the know of things.

The Dalmiya camp was stretched to beat Pawar, whose stature took him to the 15-15 stage, but the other candidates ' secretary S.K. Nair, treasurer Jyoti Bajpai (unanimously) and joint secretary Goutam Das Gupta ' had it comfortable.

Incidentally, all five vice-presidents may be changed. One understands C.K. Khanna (north), somebody from Goa (south), K.P. Kajaria (east), Chirayu Amin (west) and Rajya Sabha MP Rajiv Shukla (central) could be the ones elected. If central's Kamal Morarka is retained, then Shukla may represent east.

Changes are also expected in the high-profile senior selection committee.

Meanwhile, the stay on Dalmiya assuming the (first-ever) patron-in-chief's office will be challenged tomorrow.

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