Bangalore, Sep 08: A crucial off-the-field battle, will be witnessed in the Chinnasway Stadium on Sunday (Sep 9) during the fiercely contested elections for the managing committee of the Karnataka State Cricket Association with a group led by the last scion of Mysore family Srikanta Datta Narasimharaja Wadiyar challenging the group of incumbent Secretary and former Test batsman Brijesh Patel.
While Brijesh had pitted Little Master G R Vishwanath for the post of President to take on Wadiyar, the scion has supported 'old war horse' G Kasturirangan to face Brijesh for the Secretary's post that he had held for over nine years.
The Wadiyar Group has got a huge boost to their campaign with liquor baron Vijay Mallya backing his group. Mallya was known for his huge support to motor sport and horse racing and had evinced keen interest in entering the cricket administration. He will be at the KSCA's Headquarters M Chinnaswamy Stadium for the General Body on Sunday which will be followed by the election.
The entry of Mallya throws up some serious concern for the Brijesh Patel group, although they do not concede as much. While Mallya cannot contest for a post himself, he can be nominated to a committee of the KSCA through Select CC, run by AV Jayaparakash, the umpire, of which Mallya recently became president. "Vijay Mallya will be a representative of the Select CC. I have no qualms or problems working with anyone," said Wadiyar. "I have certain principles on which I work, and anyone who works with me on those principles will be most welcome. I will never refuse any help or assistance given by anyone interested in promoting cricket."
The two groups had been at loggerheads for the past two months with Wadiyar accusing the Brijesh Patel group, that had been in power for nearly a decade, of nepotism, corruption and obscurity, which was flatly denied by the Brijesh's group.
The war of words stooped to mudslinging level as allegations and counter allegations flew thick and fast even as campaigning for the elections heated up. This had led to the conducting of elections being handed to the Registrar of Cooperative Society.
The Brijesh Group is banking upon the Vishy factor as he commands respect and adulation from the state's cricketing community. However, Wadiyar's camp is quietly confident of dethroning the incumbent group saying that the majority of voters were with him as they were determined to bring in a change in administration. There are 1,405 life members, including 236 clubs.
However, despite being a body to govern the most popular sport in the country, the majority of the life members of the Association are aged businessmen who have held the membership for decades doing precious little for the game. In the previous elections the percentage of voting had suffered due to this factor. In the last three elections not more than 60 per cent of the votes had been cast.
Brijesh said Vishy was the best thing that had happened to his group in the run up to the elections. ''Vishy has all qualifications and been very active in promoting the game in moffusial levels of the state. He has played in several parts of the state and people know him well''.
Wadiyar, a two-time former Congress MP from Mysore, however said the Brijesh group was set to loose on a single count of their 'non-performance'. I intend to bring transparency to the cricket administration which had suffered for the last one decade.
The majority of voters are with us,'' he said.
Elections were being held for about 20 posts which also include, Vice-President, Treasurer, Joint-Secretary and Committee members, he added.
Wadiyar Group (Nominations filed as on 07-09-07): Srikantadatta Wadiyar: President; SMH Kirmani, Putta Kempaiah and Ashokanand (all Vice-president); G Kasturiranghan (Secretary); V Jagannath (Treasurer); Sanjay Desai, R Ananth, Dr Ramamurthy, AV Jayaprakesh, C R Lakshmi Narayan, Lachchaiah Shetty, Ramesh Chug and Subhash (Working Committee).
Patel Group: Gundappa Vishwanath (President); Brijesh Patel (Secretary) (list incomplete)
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