M A I N   N E W S

Pawar elected BCCI President 
Punjab’s Pandove is new Joint Secretary

Kolkata, November 29
Maharashtra strongman Sharad Pawar was today elected President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in a high-voltage contest which ended Jagmohan Dalmiya’s 21-year-old monopoly over the cash-rich sports body.

Pawar’s election to the top post after a failed attempt last year reflected a change in power equations as his team swept the polls by comprehensive margins in the highly surcharged 76th Annual General Meeting of the BCCI here.

The Union Agriculture Minister defeated Dalmiya-backed incumbent Ranbir Singh Mahendra with a whopping 20-11 margin, which was in stark contrast to the elections last year which had seen Mahendra pip Pawar 16-15, thanks to the casting vote by Dalmiya.

In a complete washout for the Dalmiya group, the Pawar faction won all the other top posts by an identical 18-13 margin.

Niranjan Shah defeated Gautam Dasgupta for the Secretary’s post, M.P. Pandove became the new Joint Secretary humbling Brijesh Patel and N Srinivasan was elected as the new Treasurer after his victory against Jyoti Bajpai.

The elections, conducted by Supreme Court-appointed observer T.S. Krishnamurthy, passed off smoothly with the former Chief Election Commissioner having clearly spelt out the guidelines in advance.

The script unfolded on expected lines as the Pawar group, which appeared to have plotted the downfall of the Dalmiya faction meticulously, had already issued a signed list of supporters who pledged to back him in the power struggle. It was the heaviest defeat ever for the shrewd Dalmiya who has been masterminding BCCI elections for long, and the fact that the blow was dealt in his home town, made the taste of defeat all the more bitter.

Shortly after the results were made known, the Pawar-group stated that its priority would be to bring transparency and professionalism in the running of the Board.

Emerging from the AGM, Pawar, flanked by former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah and Lalit Modi of the Rajasthan Cricket Association, thanked his supporters for their overwhelming support.

‘‘As I said yesterday, we were quite confident of victory and the entire election procedure,’’ Pawar said.

‘‘I'm grateful to all those who supported me and my entire team... I also expect full cooperation from Mahendra, the outgoing President.

‘‘We will concentrate on building basic infrastructure for cricket throughout India. I’m sure our collective efforts will be able to give justice to young, budding players and cricket loving people of the country,’’ he said.

Niranjan Shah, who would be holding the key post of Secretary, said the new regime would continue to utilise Dalmiya’s services.

‘‘A man like Dalmiya with such a vast experience of running cricket affairs will always have utility for the BCCI,’’ Shah said.

On Sourav Ganguly's fate, Shah said, ‘‘it will be decided by the selection committee but it is not that he will be opted out just because Pawar holds the reins.’’ Shah said his first task would be to make the Board a more professional organisation.

‘‘My plan of action is to trim the BCCI administration and make it a more professional organisation,’’ he said.

Among the pressing tasks before the new regime would be to take a decision on the contentious telecast rights issues for cricket matches to be played in India in the next four years and the finalisation of itineraries for the series against Pakistan and England.

The contracts for players as well as sponsors for the Indian team would also have to be finalised.

The AGM was earlier scheduled to be held in September end but had to be adjourned sine die amid legal wranglings and mud-slinging among the rival factions.

As various units of the BCCI moved the courts in different parts of the country, the Supreme Court ordered the BCCI to complete the election process by November 30 and appointed Krishnamurthy, the vastly experienced former Chief Election Commissioner, as an observer. —PTI


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