The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Dalmiya not out of ring

Calcutta, July 2: It’s to be seen whether commissioner of police Prasun Mukherjee sits in the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) president’s room, at the Eden Gardens, but he got a feel of it this evening.

That was when incumbent Jagmohan Dalmiya played the perfect host and invited the “perfect gentleman” for tea after an emergent meeting of the affiliates.

“Mr Mukherjee and I were together for at least 10 minutes,” Dalmiya told The Telegraph.

Asked if the forthcoming elections issue (which has placed them at different ends) cropped up, he replied “no”. Neither, perhaps, wanted awkwardness.

Mukherjee has already announced his candidature for the top post. Dalmiya, in the chair for over a decade, hasn’t committed himself. Yet, despite chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s opposition, he looks set to fight.

Dalmiya wouldn’t like to exit at a time when detractors have made damning allegations.

The emergent meeting was called to place Bhattacharjee’s views (conveyed via sports minister Subhas Chakraborty) before the 121 affiliates. That 116 attended delighted the Dalmiya camp.

“Almost everybody who was present in the last AGM, when Dalmiya won by a landslide, was there today as well,” is how somebody put it.

Despite the presence of Mukherjee (representing Police AC), however, the meeting was somewhat of a damp squib.

He kept quiet during the meeting, which didn’t last even an hour, and later said he was “satisfied” with the proceedings.

Former Union minister Ajit Panja talked for a while (his call for a “returning officer” at the AGM, though, was shot down) and Snehashish Ganguly intervened when one-time joint-secretary Prasanta Gayen wondered how “an asset had turned into a liability”.

He was, of course, referring to Dalmiya. Snehashish, who has parked himself with the opposition, felt discussing that would be “outside” the agenda.

Dalmiya went along. He also concurred with a suggestion that his 10-page letter (including annexures) to Chakraborty be discussed by the working committee.

It meets on Wednesday, when the AGM’s date (possibly July 30) will be annou-nced. Generally, working committees are packed with loyalists.

The letter, which factually addresses two issues raised by Bhattacharjee ' cricket’s decline in the state and the “blacklisting” of Eden Gardens following Dalmiya’s loss of clout in the Board ' was sent on June 27.

It’s a White Paper of sorts.

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