Calcutta, Sept. 23: Unsure of the numbers, ruling group chief Jagmohan Dalmiya and challenger Sharad Pawar agreed to a draw after two days of acrimony and lakhs down the Hooghly.
There was, of course, also the fear that more bickering and continuing litigation may encourage the government to plot a “takeover”.
The 76th AGM of the Board of Control for Cricket in India stands adjourned and will be reconvened before November 30. It’s too early to say with certainty, but The Telegraph’s sources insist a compromise is going to be thrashed out.
That can only take the form of Pawar getting a commitment that the Dalmiya group will back him for the presidency in 2006. Additionally, his candidate could get the secretaryship this year.
The reconvened AGM won’t see any action then.
The Dalmiya group had rejected such a formula not many weeks ago, but Pawar’s aggressive push has changed the ground situation.
An understanding may upset Ranbir Singh Mahendra, who won’t get a third year as president, but he won’t fall out of line.
The compromise bit gained ground as Pawar joined the high-powered marketing committee which is to soon award TV rights for four years.
Incidentally, pro-Pawar finance committee chairman N. Srinivasan is back on the marketing committee after being dumped recently.
Pawar had the upper hand till this morning, but with a division bench of Calcutta High Court ruling in the Dalmiya group’s favour, he chose to play safe. The Union minister couldn’t risk another defeat.
The bench held that Justice Suhas Chandra Sen would be the sole observer and the two former chief justices of India ' K.N. Singh and M.M. Punchi ' would have no role.
Singh and Punchi came into the picture after the Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) moved the court to appoint additional observers.
Sources said the Pawar camp’s game plan was to disqualify Jharkhand and recognise Bihar, besides barring BCCI treasurer Jyoti Bajpai from casting Uttar Pradesh’s vote.
They weren’t as confident once Singh and Punchi had to leave the AGM.
Equally, the under-pressure Dalmiya group wasn’t sure of its strength or else Mahendra would have quickly moved towards the elections.
Nothing on the agenda, by the way, was gone through.
As somebody in the know put it: “Dalmiya needed both MP’s and Andhra’s votes to be sure about Mahendra’s victory. However, there was no guarantee he would get even one.”
There are two versions of who made the first move.
One that Dalmiya and one-time buddy Inderjit Singh Bindra had a one-on-one, before Pawar, Mahendra and opposition strategist Shashank Manohar joined in.
The other that Pawar asked Dalmiya to have a “quiet word” and they were joined by Bindra, Mahendra and Manohar. They agreed to adjourn and work towards a “transparent system” for the elections.
Significantly, RCA president Lalit Modi had his dissent put on record and won’t have Pawar’s support when he challenges the “removal” of the additional observers.
It’s a personal feud between Dalmiya and Modi.