Mahendra may pip Pawar at the post

Published: Tuesday, September 28, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Kolkata:Until Monday night, developments that unfolded gave out an impression that Union Agriculture Minister and NCP heavyweight Sharad Pawar was primed to have it easy for the post of BCCI president, elections for which are scheduled to be in Kolkata on Tuesday.

In a span of twenty-four hours, the scenario has changed dramatically though it's hardly a surprise knowing the fluid nature of BCCI elections, where bombshells of whatever proportions it may be, are dropped at the eleventh hour.

Significantly, Pawar hasn't formally announced his candidature for the president's post despite pitching tent at a ritzy hotel in Kolkata since Monday in an apparent bid to chalk up strategies to drum up the requisite numbers.

Pawar all along has been saying that he was still undecided on contesting and showed his intent to do only because his well-wishers have been goading him to contest. Importantly, this could be a gameplan to keep his opponents guessing.

Only, Pawar knows better that it was prudent to play safe for a loss of face on the eve of the Maharastra elections would be politically damaging where the stakes are far more higher than the BCCI elections.

Perhaps, Pawar's camp is getting increasingly edgy after Haryana Cricket Association (HCA) secretary Ranbir Singh Mahendra announced his candidature on Tuesday.

It's possible the move has forced a rethink on Pawar's camp. The tall claims by former BCCI Raj Singh Durgapur, a strong-Pawer backer on Monday that the Maratha strongman has the support of eighteen affiliated units seems to be falling flat.

At this point of time; only two possibilities have emerged. Either Pawar would not contest at all, which would pave the way for unanimous election of Ranbir Singh Mahendra as the new BCCI president; or else the Dalmiya camp would drive a hard bargain with Pawar if the latter has to unseat Dalmiya for the most prized post in Indian cricket.

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