The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Numbers with Dalmiya

Calcutta, Sept. 28: A fairly lengthy tete-a-tete between Jagmohan Dalmiya and Sharad Pawar this evening, hours before the Board of Control for Cricket in India AGM, failed to reach a 'settlement'.

According to The Telegraph's sources, Pawar was unambiguously told there's no question of electing him (out of turn) as the next president and Ranbir Singh Mahendra is going to be the Dalmiya group's candidate.

The one-on-one between the outgoing president and the senior Union minister at a hotel was, one learns, arranged by former treasurer Kishore Rungta.

Indications are that Pawar has the support of less than 12 of the 30 affiliated units and, if this figure doesn't increase overnight, he could do a Manohar Joshi (as in 1999) and not contest at the last minute.

Actually, Dalmiya and Co. are counting on the backing of 20 units: four of the seven from north, five out of six from south, all six from east, two of the six from west and three out of six from central.

Add Dalmiya's own vote, as president, and there's little for Pawar. That, at least, was the picture late tonight.

If Pawar is to make it ' as a candidate from north and not west ' the Congress, which heads the government at the Centre of which he is an ally, will have to step out of the shadows.

The question, though, is whether it's already too late.

While the AGM is a two-day affair, the president is elected on the first day itself. So, unless there's a stunning turnaround, Mahendra is going to be Dalmiya's successor.

It wasn't confirmed, but there appears to have been a proposal from the Pawar camp that the president's seat be given to him and the other posts taken by Dalmiya's candidates (secretary S.K. Nair, for example).

It's no surprise it got rejected.

On yet another day of increased political activity ' not to speak of absurd developments like Zee lodging a police complaint that Dalmiya threatened Subhash Chandra ' Pawar's party colleague and fellow minister Praful Patel was a busy player. And, very much around was Congress MP Rajiv Shukla.

In a change from yesterday, Bengal's Goutam Das Gupta will be the next joint secretary. One understands the constitution is going to be amended for Karnataka's Brijesh Patel to be the second joint secretary.

Poor Ratnakar Shetty is having to pay for being a Mumbai man.

Much as tomorrow should be a big day for Mahendra, it will be one of significance for the newly-formed Jharkhand State Cricket Association, which is headed by Amitabh Choudhary. After all, it's going to be the state body's debut.

A retired judge of the Supreme Court, Justice S. Mohan, will act as 'commissioner' if elections are held. He is being sent by Madras High Court, which reached an ex-parte decision on a petition by the little-known Netaji Cricket Club.

Not many years ago, the same fifth division outfit had suddenly chosen to champion Bihar's cause. That motivated case was dismissed.

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