Dalmiya~~s victory leaves Bengal CM red-faced

Published: Monday, July 31, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Kolkata:Even as Jagmohan Dalmiya defied the empire and retained his crown, sharp reactions came from within the Left Front and outside that ranged from calling it an 'embarrassment' to seeking the chief minister's ouster.

As it seems now that police commissioner's defeat was a bigger battle lost and won outside the BC Roy Club House premises in Eden.

Prasun Mukherjee lost by five votes to Dalmiya, but the fact that a protege of Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee could be defeated was enough to bring about caustic remarks from others.

On June 21 Subhas Chakraborty was sent as an emissary of Mr Bhattacharjee to ask Dalmiya to step aside from the CAB polls.

Dalmiya kept quiet and in a stinging stunner filed his nomination on July 21 exactly a month after the CM's snub.

Trinamool Congress Supremo Mamata Banerjee said, ''I don't know what the verdict would have been had polls been conducted through EVMs. This poll shows that the Left can be beaten in West Bengal.

The Chief Minister should resign.'' PWD Minister Kshiti Goswami said, ''I had always maintained that an independent body should be allowed to conduct elections. There was a fear that the government influence would tilt the scales one way.'' ''Mr (Buddhedeb) Bhattacharjee is a cricket lover. He can support anyone he likes. Okay the man he pitches for didn't win, but lets take it sportingly.'' Sports Minister Subhas Chakroborty said, ''It would be a little embarrassing for the chief minister as his nominee lost the polls.

But the Cheif Minister had commented only once and stayed tight lipped after that.'' ''I congratulate Dalmiya on his victory over political interference in cricket. It was a victory for democracy and I'm happy Dalmiya won again,'' he said.

The victory can also be seen as an alarm bell for the Dalmiya regime, as the opposition came within five votes to uprooting him though by the admission of Prasun Mukherjee himself, ''I'm new to the game.'' So while meeting the press, Dalmiya first tried to mend fences with his state body, when he said, ''Its mixed feeling. I never wanted to defy the Chief Minister's wishes. But now I hope to work closely with the government.

Mr Bhattacharjee is the supreme command in the state and I would like to work in cooperation with him.'' He also invited Prasun Mukherjee to Eden Gardens and asked him to join hands with him in running the state's cricket. The 10-page report to Subhas Chakroborty on what he planned to do and what he had done for Bengal's cricket also got a mention.

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