It’s party time at the DDCA again. Though the big election (for the Executive Committee) has not been conducted for over six years now, the democratic process has consistently been tested year after year by the Sports Committee elections.
On Tuesday, the 112 secretaries of Delhi’s registered cricket clubs will choose between the two groups led by Ashok “Mama” Sharma and the incumbent, Vinod Tihara.
As is typical with the DDCA, till a few months ago, when matches were on, Ferozeshah Kotla was abuzz with debate over issues ranging from financial mismanagement to problems in the conduct of league matches to the selection of various Delhi age-group teams.
Now though, all those clarion calls for a transparent process and a clean system have abruptly stopped. According to sources, the sudden change in the tone of discontented club secretaries has come in the wake of the Rs 25,000 cheque given to each on the eve of the elections.
While every candidate (ruling and opposition) is taking credit for the monetary largesse, apparently, this money has come from the Board of Control for Cricket in India coffers and is supposed to go towards the “development of the game”. So why have these cheques (and kit bags to the institutional clubs) been distributed at the time of elections?
After all, in any democratic set up, there is a code of conduct that bars any largesse (of any kind) being distributed on election eve. DDCA apparently has no such code. At least not one its two candidates for the all-powerful Sports Committee convenor are aware of.
“We’ve not told any club secretary that we (DDCA) are giving this money. What we say is that this money was always been coming to DDCA but it was only during our tenure that we’ve been forcing the authorities to distribute it amongst clubs,” said Tihara, with his own logic.
Sharma obviously disagreed. “You ask any secretary and they will tell you the truth. What’s the point of distributing cheques at this last moment? This is a blatant misuse of power.”
So ask him about his group’s stated objective that they will give each club Rs 50,000 if elected (without mentioning it will come from that same BCCI developmental fund) Sharma wouldn’t give a straight answer: “With more money coming to states every year through TV deals, we want it (the money to clubs) to increase each year.”
Meanwhile, while the promises are flowing, so is the booze (all on the house). The next couple of days will see some hectic partying and lobbying.