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HindustanTimes Thu,30 Oct 2014

Modi support proves kiss of death for Sharad Pawar in BCCI

Amol Karhadkar, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, June 06, 2010
First Published: 23:58 IST(6/6/2010) | Last Updated: 01:10 IST(7/6/2010)

For the first time since he entered cricket administration back in 2001 as president of the Mumbai Cricket Association, Sharad Pawar is finding himself isolated in his strongest area of influence outside Baramati - the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

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Board sources say that more than Pawar's failure to declare links with a bidder for the Pune team, first reported by HT in May, what has rankled more is Lalit Modi's defence of Pawar.

This vocal defence has put Pawar on the same side as Modi, who has been suspended from all his posts in the Board and is under investigation for alleged financial irregularities.

While this may only be a case of Modi being loyal to the man who allowed him free reign as IPL chief, it is being construed as much else in the Board.

"There is only one man, Mr Pawar, who still defends Modi. And only Modi is doing his best to portray that Pawar is clean in the IPL controversy," a top Board official, preferring anonymity, told HT on Sunday.

"This clearly indicates something is wrong somewhere."

Pawar has declined to point his finger at Modi throughout the so-called 'IPLgate' scandal.

The strongest indication that the top brass of the Board was gunning for Modi at any cost, even if it meant distancing themselves from Pawar, came in BCCI president Shashank Manohar's recent statement.

While debunking Modi's claim that interim IPL chairman Chirayu Amin attempted a backdoor entry into one of the teams, Manohar stopped short of rising to Pawar's defence.

"One way to look at this is that a man of Pawar's stature doesn't really need Manohar to defend him," a source explained.

"The other is that no defence of Modi will be tolerated. As it is, IS Bindra (the other Modi supporter) is finding out how lonely life can be on the wrong side of the Board."

Given that Manohar's rise was made possible largely by Pawar - who was Maharashtra CM when Shashank's father VR Manohar was the state's advocate general - he has always been considered Pawar's protégé.

So Manohar's lack of any effort to defend Pawar is being seen as a signal that the Maratha strongman is isolated.


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