The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Govt no-balls Dalmiya substitutes
- Subhas admits failure in compromise mission, police chief files papers

Calcutta, July 20: Police commissioner Prasun Mukherjee filed his nomination to contest the Cricket Association of Bengal president’s post on a day the chief minister’s envoy said he had failed to strike a compromise with incumbent Jagmohan Dalmiya.

Sports minister Subhas Chakraborty admitted that he had failed to dissuade Dalmiya from contesting the election. The last date for filing nominations is July 22.

“The situation has taken such a turn that I will now have to say that I have been unable to persuade him (Dalmiya) not to contest.”

Chakraborty had been asked by Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee to talk to Dalmiya.

“Some of the compromise candidates Dalmiya has suggested are not acceptable to the government while some others are not willing to contest,” he said.

It is believed that the names of Somnath Chatterjee, the Lok Sabha Speaker, Chakraborty himself, B.N. Dutt, a former CAB chief, and Siddhartha Shankar Ray, the former chief minister who too has headed the association, had been proposed.

It’s not difficult to see why there hasn’t been agreement. Chatterjee can hardly be allowed by the CPM, the party to which he belongs, to contest a cricket body post.

Although the chief minister has been bold enough to sponsor the Calcutta police chief’s candidature, he would shy away from putting up a minister of his government. Besides, Chakraborty is not seen as someone he can count on. For that matter, nor is Chatterjee a Bhattacharjee follower.

Both owe their allegiance to his predecessor Jyoti Basu, who has said publicly that he disapproves of the police commissioner contesting the CAB post.

Dutt’s health is poor. Ray is a Congress leader and cannot be acceptable to the chief minister as a compromise candidate.

Although not too much time is left, a compromise cannot be ruled out. But the chances have certainly narrowed, particularly with one side filing the nomination.

The sports minister suggested that the spectacle of a chief minister (Mukherjee is but a Shikhandi) versus Dalmiya election can be avoided only if both sides show more flexibility than has been seen so far. “It is not in my hands now. The situation depends totally on the extent to which both sides can compromise.”

Chakraborty said Dalmiya was worried about the fate of his working committee members if he did not contest. “He said it was not just a question of his candidature.”

“I’ve told Dalmiya that he should do nothing till then (July 22). I’ve told him that he shouldn’t contest till the end. He said he would see,” the minister added.

Asked if the police commissioner would make a good cricket administrator, Chakraborty said: “The CAB is not a full-time job. If central ministers can head Olympic associations and IPS officers can chair sports associations in the districts, why not'”

A division bench of Calcutta High Court today declined to pass an interim order on a petition moved by Samar Pal, assistant game secretary of Aryan Club, seeking appointment of observers for the CAB elections scheduled for July 30. The petitioner contended that the elections might not be free and fair unless observers were appointed by the court.

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