"I will be contesting the post of president and I am quite hopeful of my victory," Mahendra who arrived here late last night told PTI.
Emphasising that politicians should not get involved in sports bodies, Mahendra said he has been working for the BCCI for the last 30 years in various capacities and is currentlyits vice president.
" There should not be any involvement of politicians in cricket," Mahendra said in an obvious reference to Pawar whose candidature is backed by the Punjab Cricket Associationsince it is the North zone's turn to propose a candidate for the top post this time.
When asked whether he would be fighting with a complete panel of office bearers, Mahendra said " I am definetely contesting the president's post. A complete panel or not will be decided later today," he said.
Mahendra is backed by the powerful group of the outgoing president Jagmohan Dalmiya who has already been appointed patron-in-chief of the board after completing his maximumthree-year term.
It was learnt that the Dalmiya group would be putting up a full panel with current secretary S K Nair seeking re-election to the post, while Brijesh Patel and Jyoti Bajpai would contest joint secretary and treasurer's post respectively.
Pawar who arrived in the city a day earlier to work out a strategy for the keen contest is backed by Dalmiya's rivals in the board -- I S Bindra of Punjab and Raj Singh Dungarpur ofthe Cricket Club of India.
Dungarpur has already declared that Pawar would win the contest comfortably bagging 18 of the total 31 votes. The election of the cash-rich BCCI would be held tomorrow on the opening day of its two-day Annual General Meeting.