The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Dalmiya slips up, Das Gupta withdraws nomination
- Vengsarkar hours away from being chief selector

Mumbai: The big news isn’t that Union minister Sharad Pawar’s group will be in power for the next two years, too. That, after all, was expected. The No.1 development is that Jagmohan Dalmiya couldn’t get anybody from outside Bengal to either propose or second lieutenant Goutam Das Gupta’s nomination for the treasurer’s post.

The former joint-secretary eventually withdrew, but Dalmiya cut a sorry figure. You either fight or stay miles away from the ring.

Predictably, the fiasco was the talking point in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) circles throughout Tuesday. As also that Das Gupta’s nomination would’ve been rejected — as neither the proposer (Cricket Association of Bengal’s Saradindu Pal) nor the seconder (National Cricket Club’s K.P.Kajaria) are going to attend the AGM here.

The ruling group claimed that as a requirement, but Das Gupta insisted his nomination had been in order. “I withdrew because of a decision by our camp — that when we weren’t challenging Pawar, there was no point fighting for any other post,” he explained.

Nobody risked a loss of face and, so, Pawar and the rest — secretary Niranjan Shah, joint-secretary Mohinder Pandove and treasurer Narayanswamy Srinivasan — will be in their respective chairs till September 2008. After the recent constitutional amendments, the 1+2 formula is going to apply.

The AGM is supposed to be held at the Cricket Club of India on Wednesday-Thursday, but may effectively get over on the first day itself. That Pawar was set to keep the presidency till 2008 was reported by The Telegraph (from Kuala Lumpur) on September 17.

According to sources, Dalmiya tried his “utmost” to get Das Gupta nominated from outside Bengal, but even friends — not that he has many left — declined. Argument being they wouldn’t like to expose themselves in a losing cause and earn the wrath of Pawar’s men.

It’s not clear why Dalmiya suddenly decided that bete noire Srinivasan had to be challenged, but he slipped up rather badly. If reporting to the cops (from the Mumbai police’s economic offences wing or whoever) isn’t bad enough, the Das Gupta issue is bound to dent his image even more.

Then, there’s a move by some in the Pawar group to get Rajya Sabha member Rajeev Shukla, a Congressman, elected vice-president from East. Not too long ago, Dalmiya and Shukla were on excellent terms, but their relationship went for a six when Pawar unseated Dalmiya candidate Ranbir Singh Mahendra in the last AGM.

Upset, Dalmiya had Shukla replaced and confidant Kajaria made a comeback. As Shukla, the UP supremo, has already served as vice-president from East, technical issues shouldn’t arise. Eventually, though, somebody like Assam’s Goutam Roy could make the ‘cut’. Indeed, some see him as the proverbial dark horse.

It couldn’t be confirmed, but there was talk late Tuesday that Pawar may indirectly favour cabinet colleague Lalu Prasad — provided he meets the constitutional requirements — for the post being eyed by many. Owing to a Supreme Court ruling, there will be a Lalu man at the AGM and, so, his Bihar Cricket Association does have locus standi. For now, at least.

The other vice-presidents are going to continue: Lalit Modi (North), Dayanand Narvekar (South), Chirayu Amin (West) and Shashank Manohar (Central).

Meanwhile, the senior national selection committee is set for two changes. Dilip Vengsarkar is certain to come in from West, succeeding Kiran More, while Venkatapathy Raju is tipped to take over from V.B.Chandrasekhar (South). Gujarat is pressing for Dhiraj Parsana and Andhra has been pleading for V. Chamundeswaranath, but Vengsarkar (Mumbai) and Hyderabad’s Raju are very well-placed.

North’s Bhupinder Singh, Ranjib Biswal (East) and Central’s Sanjay Jagdale will be retained — in fact, because of the 1+2 formula, they’re going to stay till 2008. For the newcomers, the 2+1 formula will apply.

Actually, Vengsarkar is hours away from becoming the chief selector. However, the former India captain isn’t counting chickens before they’re hatched. “Please don’t congratulate me in advance... I don’t believe in that... I hope you understand... Let the announcement first be made,” he maintained.

Footnote: Switching camps isn’t uncommon in the BCCI. Last year, Himachal’s Anurag Thakur was running around with Dalmiya’s lawyers. This time, he’s comfortable in the company of Pawar’s men. Well, what in 2008'


President: Sharad Pawar Secretary: Niranjan Shah Joint-secretary: Mohinder Pandove Treasurer: Narayanswamy Srinivasan.


(as of late Tuesday)

Dilip Vengsarkar (chairman), Venkatapathy Raju, Bhupinder Singh, Sanjay Jagdale and Ranjib Biswal.

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