Chennai, March 2 (IANS)
After a gap of over 10 years, Jagmohan Dalmiya made an uncontested comeback as full-time president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), even as former chief N. Srinivasan proved his hold by getting most of his men elected as office bearers at its 85th annual general meeting (AGM) here on Monday.
Anurag Thakur, fielded by the rival Sharad Pawar faction, got elected as secretary by the slenderest of margins to somewhat spoil what would have been a splendid show by Srinivasan, who was barred from contesting the elections by the Supreme Court in connection with the spot-fixing scandal in the Indian Premier League.
Thakur, who seemed to have got the backing of his party BJP, was the only victor from the Pawar camp, while the Srinivasan lobby cornered all other posts where election took place.
Thakur later said the new team would work to "restore people's faith and improve the game's image".
“We'll take all necessary steps to strengthen the board, strengthen cricket and take cricket to new heights,” said Thakur, who called the BCCI elections a ‘victory of cricket’.
Asked whether Dalmiya would be able to act independently, Thakur said, “Why not? He has been in the board for more than the last 30 years.”
Srinivasan scored another victory when the members nominated him to represent the BCCI at the International Cricket Council (ICC) till the next AGM slated for September.
Thakur said it was decided to maintain continuity as the next AGM was only six-seven months away.
“So all of us agreed to continue with that process, so that the working of the board is not affected by the change in the committee.”
Pawar forced to extend his support to Dalmiya
As per BCCI rules, it was the turn of the east zone associations this year to nominate candidates for the elections.
Former ICC president Dalmiya, whose previous tenure as the BCCI chief ended in 2004, was the sole candidate for the top post.
Both camps claimed Dalmiya had their backing, but those in the know said Maharashtra heavyweight and former ICC boss Pawar was forced to extend support to his one time bete noire after failing to find any proposer or seconder for himself or for Thakur from among the east zone affiliates.
Apart from the 74-year-old Dalmiya, the other new entrant was Haryana's Anirudh Chaudhry – backed by the Srinivasan lobby.
Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association president Thakur won the secretary's post by one vote. His opponent was Baroda's Sanjay Patel, favoured by Srinivasan.
Anirudh defeated Uttar Pradesh's Rajeev Shukla, a former BCCI vice president, for the post of treasurer.
Jharkhand State Cricket Association boss Amitabh Choudhary, from the Srinivasan camp, was elected joint secretary after he edged out Pawar's ally Chetan Desai in a tie. Interim president and chairperson Shivlal Yadav exercised his vote in favour of the former.
Madhya Pradesh's Jyotiraditya Scindia, a former union minister belonging to the Pawar camp, lost out in the race for the central zone's vice president to C.K. Khanna of the Delhi and District Cricket Association.
Kerala Cricket Association's T.C. Mathew outvoted Pawar's candidate Ravi Sawant to become the vice president from west zone.
M.L. Nehru (north zone), Gautam Roy (east zone) and Ganga Raju (south zone) became the new vice presidents of their respective zones.
The Supreme court is currently hearing the IPL spot-fixing scandal in which conflict of interest with regard to Srinivasan's position as the BCCI president and owner of the IPL team Chennai Super Kings has come in for sharp criticism from the court.
Mission accomplished: Aditya Verma
An elated Bihar Cricket Association secretary Aditya Verma, the petitioner in the IPL spot fixing and betting case, welcomed Dalmiya's election.
He said his ‘mission’ of getting rid of Srinivasan has finally been ‘accomplished’.
“Mission finally accomplished. I've earlier said if you have to save BCCI, then you must get rid of Srinivasan and this is what happened today which makes me happy. My long and tiring fight has finally borne results,” Verma told IANS over phone.
Dalmiya - credited with having changed the face of the game through his marketing skills - served as ICC chief from 1997 to 2000, and later was BCCI chief 2001-2004.
In June, 2013, Dalmiya was appointed BCCI's interim president after Srinivasan stepped aside till the probe into the latter's son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan's alleged involvement in the IPL scandal was completed. Srinivasan returned in October 2013.Published 02 Mar 2015, 23:05 IST