Long before the law of the land caught up with the BCCI, in the days when it was actually a cozy club, the extent to which different state associations made and amended their own rules was almost perplexing. Take for example the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), whose president Sourav Ganguly is being hyped as the next BCCI president. It could be one of the most prosperous cricket associations in India, with well-managed books, but its administration set-up is highly complicated.
To start with, the CAB has a separate constitution of its own which stipulates that every office-bearer could serve for a maximum term of four years at a post. Till the time BN Dutt was the president of CAB, that rule was followed for every office-bearer. But when Jagmohan Dalmiya returned from the ICC in 2000, he amended the rule only for the president’s post, allowing him to stay on top -- his eighth consecutive term to be exact -- till he died in 2015.
While Dalmiya was a constant at the helm, the administration below him changed. But most of the time, the nameplate just shifted from one door to another. This has resulted in a situation where both treasurer Biswarup Dey and joint-secretary Subir Ganguly have completed nine years as office-bearers and hence have to serve a cooling period now after the Supreme Court’s landmark judgment on Monday.
What boomeranged big time for CAB was their plea seeking clarity regarding their elections last July. It prompted the Court-appointed Lodha Committee to come out with a detailed clarification that dealt a three-pronged blow to many administrators’ hopes of finding a loophole in the original order.
It said that office-bearers, who had cumulatively or separately completed nine years in office before July 18 last year, won’t be allowed to contest an election. It also barred anyone in his seventh year as office-bearer or aged above 67 from aspiring for another term. It was most severe on the current office-bearers by asking for fresh elections whenever the Lodha Committee recommendations are implemented.
The clarification had two side-effects. The elections of the CAB and Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) were immediately put on hold. Angered by CAB’s decision to not consult the top brass before approaching the Committee, the BCCI then sent a circular to all associations making it mandatory for them to put forward a plea only through the BCCI. In the light of that clarification, it now seems that most of the CAB office-bearers, including Ganguly, are on their way out for fresh elections.
Ganguly said on Tuesday that if that is what they are faced with, there are plenty of people to take up the positions. However it would be easier said than done since any major decision has to be taken through an SGM with 121 representatives of clubs and other member bodies. Even if new people come in, the axed administrators will not cease to exert their influence because this ultimately boils down to how many clubs support a particular individual.
An SGM is the next way forward but the CAB is expected to take it slow and wait for BCCI to implement the reforms. For that the BCCI has to adopt a new constitution to which all state associations must adhere. That should be a lengthy affair which will eat into whatever time Ganguly has left in his first three years as office-bearer.
Once his cooling off period starts -- and that should ideally be from July, 2017, three years after Ganguly was elected as joint-secretary -- the CAB might have to look at one of its vice-presidents to fill in his shoes.