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Dalmiya gets quit call, Basu off-limits

Calcutta, June 21: Jagmohan Dalmiya waited 15 minutes at Jyoti Basu’s residence yesterday only to be denied an audience, and then suffered another blow today when he was formally conveyed Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s advice to opt out of the Cricket Association of Bengal election.

But hours after sports minister Subhas Chakraborty passed the chief minister’s message to him, the state cricket boss said he couldn’t take a decision all by himself.

“It is the association that should decide if I should contest. I shall call an emergent meeting of all affiliated bodies very soon. Tomorrow I shall announce the date.”

Contesting had been very much on Dalmiya’s mind when he arrived at Basu’s residence on Tuesday to seek his “blessings” for the battle. On Sunday, Basu had opposed city police chief Prasun Mukherjee joining the fray.

“Maybe he (Dalmiya) wanted to discuss his candidature'. But I wasn’t feeling well and could not meet him,” Basu told The Telegraph.

Pressed, he insisted: “How could I (meet him)' I was not feeling well.”

Dalmiya’s office said the CAB chief had an appointment with Basu. He couldn’t be informed about the former chief minister’s indisposition as his mobile was switched off.

An official at Basu’s residence said that from 12.30 pm till 12.45, Dalmiya tried to get Basu to speak to him, “but he refused to accept any call”.

B.N. Dutt, the still influential former BCCI and CAB president, said he had only one advice for Dalmiya: “Wait and watch and (do) not take a decision immediately.”

Speaker Somnath Chatterjee today denied he had written a letter calling for a change in CAB and backing Mukherjee. He said he had only expressed solidarity with Sourav Ganguly.

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