Cong will not meddle in BCCI poll: Pranab

Published: Wednesday, September 29, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Kolkata:Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday ruled out any political interference in the election of the president of the Cricket Board for which NCP supremo Sharad Pawar is a likely candidate.

"It is a totally apolitical affair. The Congress party has nothing to do with this," Mukherjee told newsmen here when his attention was drawn to the reports that political interference may decide the fate of the election.

Mukherjee, who was here to address the AGM of the Bharat Chamber of Commerce at the same hotel where hectic activities for the BCCI election were on, was repeatedly asked about the stand of the Congress in view of the candidature of Pawar, a Congress ally in Maharashtra.

But the senior Congress leader made it clear that the party was not going to get involved saying "I think no political party should be involved in it (BCCI election), only sports bodies and sports lovers should get involved."

When asked whether the Congress was supporting any faction in the BCCI election, he said "there is no question of factionalism. So far as BCCI election is concerned, we have nothing to do with it."

Mukherjee also denied that any directive have been given to the Services Sports Board, which is one of the affiliates of BCCI and comes directely under Defence Ministry headed by him.

"We never give direction from the top and in future also it will not be given. It will be decided by them (Services Board) only," Mukherjee said.

Services' vote may prove crucial in case of a close contest which is expected in the event of an election.

The speculation about the role of the Congress in the BCCI election started after Pawar, president of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) - an ally of Congress in Maharashtra, hinted at contesting the high-profile election and Ranbir Singh Mahendra, a senior leader of Haryana Congress party, decided to challege him.

Read more about: thatscricketcom, sept 29
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