Anurag Thakur © CricketCountry
Anurag Thakur  © CricketCountry

In the end, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) elections turned out to be a face saver for the Sharad Pawar group. Thanks to Anurag Thakur’s narrow victory for the secretary’s post, beating N Srinivasan’s most-trusted lieutenant Sanjay Patel 15-14, the Pawar group has somehow managed to avoid embarrassment for the time being and most importantly succeeded in shifting the power centre of Indian cricket out of Chennai. READ: BJP strongman Amit Shah enters BCCI matters by springing surprise

One may be confused, going by the names and sheer number of his supporters, that Srinivasan has managed to get inside BCCI – Amitabh Choudhary (Joint Secretary), Anirudh Chaudhry (Treasurer), ML Nehru (Vice-President, North), Dr G Ganga Raju (VP, South), TC Mathew (VP, West) and CK Khanna (VP, Central) – but all that they can do is to disrupt, and are not in a position to endorse, any of his agenda.

The BCCI constitution has invested decision-making powers only with the president and secretary. The only vice-president elected from Dalmiya group is Gautam Roy from the East.

The turning factor:  The one important thing that has emerged after the elections is that no single group can actually claim to be in a majority. If the Srinivasan camp is claiming votes of around 16 members, then he also realises that it was basically with the help of a few ruling BJP supporters (read Delhi, Jharkhand, etc.) who failed to vote on party lines.

“This happened because of no clear directions from the top BJP bosses. Even Arun Jaitley’s close confidante somehow managed to survive by a solitary vote because of this confusion. Had there been a clear cut message from the top, there was absolutely no chance for the Srinivasan camp to survive,” said a newly-elected BCCI official on condition of anonimity.

It would be easier to understand through this instance that two of BJP’s hardcore voters – Himachal’s Thakur and Delhi’s Khanna – have emerged victorious from two warring factions. Delhi cricket (DDCA) was ruled by Jaitley for 13 years while Thakur is being seen as his proxy in the BCCI. Another factor which tilted the odds in Srinivasan’s favour was the acting president Shivlal Yadav, whose decisive vote after the tie in joint secretary’s election helped Amitabh Chaudhary’s cause.

What is there to celebrate: The big question now is how Pawar, or for that matter the Dalmiya group, has managed to extract from this hopeless position.  The answer is simple. Going by Monday’s scenario where the Srinivasan camp managed to get its supporters in by narrow margins, his camp will not have the advantage of two votes that Yadav enjoyed on Monday.

Also, the next Annual General Meeting (AGM) will in all probability be held in either the BCCI headquarters Mumbai or Dalmiya’s hometown Kolkata. The money and muscle power that Srinivasan, or for that matter all BCCI presidents exercise in their hometowns, would now lie with his detractors.

Advantage Dalmiya: One cannot really forecast what would happen after six months and 24 days, the next date for BCCI elections, but with Dalmiya now holding two votes there should not be doubts in anybody’s mind that it would be the grand old man of Indian cricket who will be sitting with four votes (Cricket Association of Bengal, National Cricket Club along with two votes as president) who will be calling the shots.

It could be a different matter whether he would still be holding hands of Pawar group or form his own group, which he is capable of. Whatever may be the situation in September 2015, but one thing is sure that Srinivasan will find it hard to hold on to his power-hungry supporters whom he has managed to keep intact this time around promising big.

Future tense: The first decision that BCCI’s new office-bearers took post elections were that of retaining Srinivasan as its representative at the International Cricket Council (ICC). This has come as a big relief for the disgraced former president after Cricket Association of Bihar’s secretary Aditya Verma tried to stall his bid by filing contempt proceeding in the Supreme Court last week.

Verma has not given up his fight and vowed to again file the contempt against BCCI and Srinivasan for violating the spirit of Apex court orders passed on January 22. “Without being cleared of wrongdoing by Justice RM Lodha committee, how can Srinivasan be India’s representative at the international level? This is a clear violation of court orders and I’m going to file a fresh contempt plea in this regard,” Verma told dna over phone from Chennai.

Result:

Secretary: Anurag Thakur bt Sanjay Patel 15-14 (one invalid vote)

Treasurer: Anirudh Chaudhary bt Rajeev Shukla 16-13 (one invalid vote)

Jt Secretary: Amitabh Chaudhary bt Chetan Desai 16-15 (Tie, casting vote done by Yadav)

Vice-president:

West Zone: TC Mathew bt Ravi Savant 16-14

Central Zone: CK Khanna bt J Scindia 15-14 (one invalid vote)

(Chander Shekhar Luthra is a staffer with DNA. The above news has been republished with permission from DNA, where it first appeared)