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Post Dalmiya, Battle in CAB Settled But The BCCI War Rages On

With Ganguly taking charge of the CAB, focus now moves to the BCCI where the President’s seat needs to be filled soon

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Ever since Jagmohan Dalmiya had taken over as the BCCI president for the second time in March 2015, whispers in the power circles about his failing health had started.

Closer to his untimely demise, there were stories about how senior officials were likely to prevail upon him to step down, as he was not able to discharge his duties. So it was no surprise that when the news of the passing away of Dalmiya came through, the battle for the positions he left behind also started.

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Ganguly’s Rise Expected

The first of the two battles has ended in a whimper with former India captain Sourav Ganguly taking over as Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) president. While Ganguly’s rise was a foregone conclusion following his stature, the picture is not so clear in the BCCI.

Right from the funeral of Dalmiya, the bargaining for the top post had started with major players like Sharad Pawar, Rajiv Shukla, Anurag Thakur, N Srinivasan and Shashank Manohar involved in different parleys. Even the likes of current joint-secretary Amitabh Chaudhry of Jharkhand and former treasurer Ajay Shirke have emerged as possible candidates to be the new president.

The president needs to be nominated from the East Zone with at least two state units from that region backing the candidate. A police officer, Jharkhand’s Amitabh Chaudhry, had emerged as possible compromise candidate for the East.

With Ganguly taking charge of the CAB, focus now moves to the BCCI where the President’s seat needs to be filled soon
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar paying his respects to mortal remains of BCCI President Jagmohan Dalmiya in Kolkata on Monday. (Photo: PTI)

In BCCI, Pawar’s Politics at Play

While the state associations pick their candidates, the political heavyweights are hard at work as well.

IPL Chairman Rajiv Shukla has the backing of current secretary Anurag Thakur and by that same logic of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). It is no secret that Union Finance, Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley directly oversees the functioning of the BCCI. Jaitley drives all key decisions of the board. It is believed that Jaitley too may have blessed Shukla’s candidature.

BJP controls at least eight votes in the BCCI.

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With Ganguly taking charge of the CAB, focus now moves to the BCCI where the President’s seat needs to be filled soon
ICC President N Srinivasan at BCCI President Jagmohan Dalmiya’s funeral procession in Kolkata on Monday. (Photo: PTI)

Foes Turning Into Friends?

Amidst all this, Srinivasan reached out to Pawar on Wednesday night in Nagpur. For a while now, Srinivasan has been offering an olive branch to Pawar to hold on to his ICC chairman’s role. However, the Maratha strongman has been resisting Srinivasan.

It is no secret that the current BCCI dispensation has been keen to dislodge Srinivasan from his position at the ICC. With that in mind, Srinivasan was willing to break bread with Pawar. A loss in power has meant that Srinivasan now has just about eight of the 30 votes in the BCCI in his kitty.

Pawar and Manohar have been critical of Srinivasan’s role in the IPL scandal. So it will be interesting to see if they actually take up the Srinivasan offer.

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With Ganguly taking charge of the CAB, focus now moves to the BCCI where the President’s seat needs to be filled soon
File photo of Former BCCI President Sharad Pawar speaking at the launch of the Indian Premier League in 2007. (Photo: Reuters)

Life Comes a Full Circle

Former BCCI President Sharad Pawar usually takes up battles that he thinks he is certain to win. The only time Pawar lost a cricket battle was in 2004-05 when he was left stranded by Dalmiya’s casting vote! Pawar then had Srinivasan on his side as part of a grand alliance. That alliance has long gone bust and incidentally Dalmiya emerged as a compromise candidate.

Stranger things have happened in the BCCI power circles, so don’t rule out a surprise end to this battle as well.

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