Calcutta, July 24: Sports minister Subhas Chakraborty suggested today that Jagmohan Dalmiya was ready for a compromise over the Cricket Association of Bengal elections but the government was not.
As the CAB battle increasingly reflected the division within the CPM, Chakraborty said: “Dalmiya was ready to step aside. But he wanted the government to ensure the victory of his panel (of office-bearers for the election) which the government declined.”
Instead, the government is throwing all its might into defeating Dalmiya through its candidate Prasun Mukherjee, the police commissioner. Instructions are said to have gone out to the eight universities to send their registrars ' and not the sports officers, as is usually the practice ' to vote at July 30’s election to make sure they cast their lot with Mukherjee.
Earlier, a similar instruction had gone to the 18 district authorities to send district magistrates/superintendents of police for the vote.
Although appointed by chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee to dissuade Dalmiya from contesting the post of CAB president, Chakraborty, who draws his strength from Jyoti Basu, has left little to the imagination which side his sympathies lie with.
“Some politicians may want players or artists to serve their political interests. But players should not join politics,” he said, advising Sourav Ganguly not to follow in the footsteps of politicians.
It was a not-so-veiled attack on the chief minister, at whose instance Sourav is believed to have written the email against Dalmiya, though after dilly-dallying for weeks. Urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya, who is with the chief minister in the oust-Dalmiya exercise and is close to Sourav, was also in Chakraborty’s gunsight.
Such is the bitterness now that Chakraborty is not fighting shy of criticising Sourav in public. “I am sure those whom Sourav is suspecting to have leaked Greg Chappell’s email damaging his career did not do it,” he said.
Earlier, he had accused the former India captain of being ungrateful to his benefactors, like Dalmiya and Chakraborty himself.
If Chakraborty and Kshiti Goswami, the PWD minister, are directly or indirectly backing Dalmiya, former police commissioner Tushar Talukder, known to be close to the chief minister, launched a vicious attack on the two today.
“I wonder why Subhas Chakraborty and Kshiti Goswami always praise Dalmiya. Their peculiar patronage often raises questions whether these ministers are getting any favour' from Dalmiya.
“I have seen these two ministers waiting at the airport to receive Dalmiya after he became the ICC president,” he said.
A former Calcutta High Court judge, Santosh Kumar Fouzdar, will supervise the CAB election. The director-general of police, S.C. Abasthy, was today asked by the city civil court to assist the observer.
Dalmiya said he had no objection to the observer.