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CPM gags cricket comrades

Calcutta, July 26: The CPM today issued gag orders on its leaders and ministers who are publicly divided over Sunday’s elections for Cricket Association of Bengal president.

“I want to make it clear that no party ministers nor any of our leaders will talk about the elections to CAB president’s post,” party state secretary Biman Bose said.

“We have already clarified that the party will not interfere with the CAB polls. Against this backdrop, our leaders and ministers should not go public'. Politics should not be mixed with sports.”

The warning came after urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya and sports minister Subhas Chakraborty locked horns over the election.

Bhattacharya is a supporter of police commissioner Prasun Mukherjee while Chakraborty has spoken out for current CAB chief Jagmohan Dalmiya, who filed his papers ignoring public discouragement from chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.

Chakraborty has claimed Dalmiya had been ready to “step aside”. Dalmiya said much the same today by stressing he needed a platform to fight the Indian board that has accused him of embezzlement.

“I am hurt that I could not honour chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s words. Believe me, I had every intention to honour his words and there is a feeling of sadness that I had to stand. But I had to do it to prove a point.”

Dalmiya said he was also “hurt” by Sourav Ganguly’s email accusing his camp of “playing” with his career.

“There is a saying in Hindi, ‘jiski lathi uski bhains (he who has the stick owns the buffalo)’. Now I don’t have the proverbial lathi and people are deserting me and relationships have strained,” he told a TV channel.

He, however, described Ganguly as a rare talent and a fabulous cricketer. “Whatever he has done, he has done it by himself. I will stand by these words for ever.”

The police commissioner appeared to lose two votes today with Bata and Calcutta Rangers ' both believed to be on his side ' having their forms cancelled during scrutiny.

Two of the three clubs summoned tomorrow to settle a dispute over nomination papers ' Ballygunge Sporting and Victoria Sporting Club ' are also believed to be Mukherjee-backers.

The third, Narkeldanga Gurudas Institute, is in the Dalmiya camp.

Dalmiya and Mukherjee were present as the court-appointed observer, Santosh Kumar Fouzdar, scrutinised each of the 121 forms at the Eden Gardens.

Sources explained the two cancellations saying Bata’s form hadn’t been signed by the authorised official while Rangers’ form wasn’t properly filled.

Former Union minister Ajit Panja will be in the fray after having “mistakenly” filled in the relevant column.

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