The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Will it remain all quiet'
- Build-up to BCCI AGM

Calcutta: Come September and, usually, there’s a buzz within the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). It’s the time, at least, to lobby and jockey for positions.

The AGM, after all, is held before the month is out — this year, it’s on 27-28 at the Cricket Club of India in Mumbai.

The build-up to the latest edition, though, has been dull.

Largely because the opposition hasn’t (or so it seems) made any move to unsettle Sharad Pawar, who also happens to be a Union minister.

Possibly because much of Jagmohan Dalmiya’s time is being spent with lawyers. Probably because nobody wishes to end up in Jharkhand State Cricket Association president Amitabh Choudhary’s shoes.

However, whispers in the corridors which matter suggest that the Congress — which backed Pawar last year — is pretty cut up with him. Apparently, for more than one reason.

The question, of course, is whether that could impact on the cash-rich BCCI.

Besides being in a position to influence a number of state associations, the Congress (which heads the coalition at the Centre) can ensure that all three institutional votes go the way it wishes.

The loss of votes ‘controlled’ by the Congress is what doomed Dalmiya’s man, the highly unimpressive Ranbir Singh Mahendra, in the last elections.

Ironically, he’s a Congress MLA in Haryana.

While Pawar thrashed Mahendra 20-11, his candidates (secretary, joint-secretary and treasurer) won by a smaller margin — 18-13.

“Cricket administrators can’t answer whether a shift in political equations will directly affect the national body… In any case, nothing is ever done publicly,” one of sources associated with the BCCI told The Telegraph.

Speaking on Saturday evening, he added: “Given Pawar’s profile, another politician alone may be able to effectively challenge him… Whatever the equations in New Delhi, just anybody simply won’t do…”

Incidentally, if Pawar gets reelected in Mumbai (his home turf, mind you), he’s going to be at the helm for two years more.

Thanks to a recent constitutional amendment, office-bearers (and selectors) who get reelected this year can’t be challenged in 2007 as they’ll be covered by the 1+2 provision.

It should, within a week, be clear whether the opposition has reconciled itself to a further two years in the wilderness (actually, in court rooms and lawyers’ chambers) or…

Footnote: The Pawar group, one understands, is working overtime to dislodge Dalmiya confidant Brijesh Patel from the Karnataka State Cricket Association. It seems a Mysore royal is “padding up” for next year’s elections. Office-bearers there have three-year terms.

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