Dalmiya likely to contest for top job in West Bengal cricket board

June 12th, 2008 - 5:31 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, June 12 (IANS) Former president of the International Cricket Council Jagmohan Dalmiya is likely to contest the president’s post in the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) polls this July-end. Though Dalmiya, also a former president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) was not willing to make a categorical statement, a close confidante of his told IANS that he would announce his candidature soon. “He will be in the fray and he will make a formal announcement soon.”

Dalmiya himself said he was not ruling out anything and would take the final decision after consulting his friends and officials of the CAB clubs.

“I will talk to my close associates and CAB affiliate units in the next few days. Then I will make up my mind,” he said.

But the aide said the former BCCI chief has “more or less” made up his mind to throw his hat in the ring for the top CAB post, which he had held for 13 years at a stretch before stepping down in December 2006.

The Dalmiya loyalist said: “We will put up candidates for all the posts. We have the support of more than two-thirds of the 121 affiliate units of the CAB”.

Incumbent CAB president Prasun Mukherjee, who lost to Dalmiya in a high-voltage election in 2006 but was unanimously elected to the top job in February last year after Dalmiya put in his papers, said he was ready for the challenge.

“Just like you, I am also hearing that he will be in the fray. He hasn’t told me anything himself. But I am definitely contesting,” he told IANS.

Mukherjee said he would first try for a consensus.

“During my 16-month stint I have never made any discrimination between the affiliate clubs which have supported me and those which have not. I have always been impartial. So, I will first try for a consensus. Well, if that fails then there will be a fight,” said the former city police commissioner, who is now the Additional Director General of Police (Telecom), West Bengal.

Dalmiya, the first Asian chief of the International Cricket Council (1997-2000), ruled the board with an iron hand as its secretary (1993-1996) and then as president (2001-2005) and is regarded as the man responsible for the successful marketing of cricket.

“Jagguda”, as Dalmiya is known among his friends, tried to control the Indian board by proxy after installing his acolyte Ranbir Singh Mahendra as president in September 2005. But Dalmiya and his group were thrown out of office in January 2006, when union minister Sharad Pawar became the board president.

Coming down hard on Dalmiya, the Pawar-led board slapped a suspension notice and filed a criminal complaint against him for alleged misappropriation of 1996 World Cup funds, before banning him from the board.

Dalmiya, however, retained his CAB president’s post till February 2007 when he was forced to make way for Mukherjee, who had the backing of West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee. Mukherjee was formally elected last July.

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