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Top cop dares Dalmiya

Calcutta, June 18: Calcutta police commissioner Prasun Mukherjee today confirmed he would contest for the post of Cricket Association of Bengal’s president, setting the stage for a likely battle with incumbent Jagmohan Dalmiya.

“For the last few days, I was being repeatedly asked whether I will contest. After discussing with a majority of the 121 affiliates of CAB, I have decided to contest,” Mukherjee said.

Dalmiya, whose nominee lost the election for president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India late last year to Sharad Pawar, has not announced his candidature yet, but the CAB post is all he has now. “I haven’t decided yet to contest,” Dalmiya said today.

Underlying the likely election fight between Dalmiya and Mukherjee is the more intriguing position play of two chief ministers ' one current and the other former.

It is difficult to believe the police officer has thrown his hat into the ring without chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s sanction. Asked if he had Bhattacharjee’s support, Mukherjee said: “I cannot comment on this. It is better to ask the chief minister.”

Some days ago, Mukherjee received permission from the home ministry in Delhi to contest. That application had to be channelled through the home department, which is headed by the chief minister.

Besides, who’ll forget Bhattacharjee’s words after the BCCI election results showed the Dalmiya camp’s defeat: “Bancha gechhe (Good riddance).”

Former chief minister Jyoti Basu does not believe it’s a good idea for Mukherjee to contest. “This is not right. Prasun is the city police chief and I don’t understand why he is contesting for the CAB president’s post,” Basu said. “His job is to oversee law and order.”

Basu’s stand should gladden Dalmiya’s heart. The former BCCI president is believed to have a line of communication with Basu. It’s not known if that line is strong enough for Basu to put in a word with his successor.

Mukherjee hinted he has Sourav Ganguly’s support. “(The) election process is all about seeking support. Sourav is a brand name. His support is welcome. He is with us.”

Sourav, known to be close to Dalmiya, was not available for comment. But if the buzz is correct, Snehasish, his elder brother, will be in the Mukherjee panel of candidates for other posts. The election is scheduled for the last week of July.

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