| Sharad Pawar |
Calcutta: Sharad Pawar, the Union agriculture minister and head of the Nationalist Congress Party, has taken the first step towards making a comeback in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
On Wednesday, Pawar filed his nomination for the post of president in the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA). A day earlier, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Gopinath Munde had done the same, but well-placed sources of The Telegraph “believe” there won’t be a contest.
Nominations can be filed till Friday and the elections are on October 18.
The sources are of the opinion that Munde will “almost surely” reach an understanding whereby he becomes one of the two vice-presidents.
Seems to be all about striking the best deal.
Pawar and Munde are poles apart politically, but cricket is known to bring together such foes. Arun Jaitley and Rajeev Shukla, for example, have been colleagues in the BCCI for years. They’ve never opposed each other.
In fact, often, Jaitley and Shukla have plotted moves together.
Late on Wednesday, word started to spread that Prithviraj Chavan, the Maharashtra chief minister, would also file his nomination.
However, top sources with access to Chavan quickly informed this Reporter that he’d “put on hold” plans to enter cricket administration.
If Chavan were to take the plunge, it would mean confronting the president of the party which is a partner in his Congress-led government!
The repercussions wouldn’t be insignificant. It’s not that Chavan doesn’t have reservations where Pawar is concerned, but he doesn’t intend inviting unnecessary trouble.
Moreover, the general elections aren’t far away.
Chavan, by the way, follows cricket very keenly and he may target the MCA president’s post at some point in the future.
The MCA elections will be closely followed by the BCCI president, Narayanswamy Srinivasan.
Indications are that Srinivasan intends to continue even after the end of his first innings, in September 2014. Equally, indications are that Pawar will make a pitch for his own second innings.
An amendment to the BCCI’s constitution (its Memorandum of Rules & Regulations), pushed through last year by the Srinivasan regime, allows a fresh innings.
Srinivasan helped Pawar become the BCCI president, in 2005, but much has happened since the headline-grabbing AGM here. Their relationship has seen a 180-degree turn.
Pawar is not only a former president of the MCA and the BCCI, he’s held the No.1 position in the International Cricket Council too.
Srinivasan’s moves in the lead-up to the last AGM were aimed at strengthening his hold over the BCCI. With the Supreme Court okaying his taking charge, he’s bound to consolidate between now and next September.
Pawar would wait for October 18 to fine-tune his BCCI-specific strategy and become the face of the opposition to Srinivasan. Thus far, the latter has been having it his way.
Clearly, Pawar isn’t convinced that the “somebody” Srinivasan referred to in his “the BCCI needs somebody to run it” comment, after the Supreme Court order, is the India Cements vice-chairman and managing director.