The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Delhi adds to Dalmiya woes

Calcutta, Nov. 27: The Jagmohan Dalmiya group’s fate appears to have been sealed with somebody very influential in the Congress conveying that the party is firmly behind ally Sharad Pawar in his bid for the Board of Control for Cricket in India presidency.

The Congress may not admit it, but the gentleman has made a series of telephone calls which have upset calculations. The numbers just aren’t adding up two days before the AGM reconvenes here.

Pawar is on the verge of knocking off Ranbir Singh Mahendra. Dalmiya’s casting vote denied him last year.

Sources said the Congress factor has forced a thick question mark over five of the 30 units: Services from North, Andhra from South, Assam and Orissa from East and Gujarat from West.

Then, the ruling group fears that Supreme Court-appointed observer T.S. Krishnamurthy could disqualify one or more units against whom objections have been raised.

The former chief election commissioner has (surprisingly) already ruled Jharkhand’s affiliation 14 months ago as flawed. Yet, Jharkhand State Cricket Association president Amitabh Choudhary was allowed to make a “representation” today.

Krishnamurthy, who insists everything will be done according to the “rules of the game,” is to decide on the Delhi & District Cricket Association, Himachal, the National Cricket Club and UP tomorrow morning. All are in the Dalmiya group.

The list of voters will be ready once the bona fide of the disputed units has been established. Perhaps, by 11 am.

Krishnamurthy also met Mahendra, who is set to be deprived of his vote as chairman of the AGM. It’s bound to be a setback, but can’t be challenged straightaway. The casting vote, though, won’t be touched.

Seemingly behind in numbers, the ruling group can boycott elections if one ' or more units ' is disqualified.

Equally, if a last-minute swing can’t be engineered, Dalmiya may back off.

Pawar backer I.S. Bindra, at least, believes that will happen. “Knowing Jaggu, he won’t expose his (poor) numbers'. At best, there can be a token fight for the other posts, not the president’s,” he said.

A compromise is out. Dalmiya didn’t play ball when Pawar wasn’t sure of his numbers. Today, the minister isn’t interested in a one-on-one.

If elections are held, the Dalmiya group is to field Goutam Das Gupta (secretary), Brijesh Patel (joint-secretary) and Jyoti Bajpai (treasurer). Niranjan Shah, Mohinder Pandove and N. Srinivasan are on the Pawar panel.

Nominations must be filed by 6 pm tomorrow.

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