Jagmohan Dalmiya’s 14-year reign as president of Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) ended on Wednesday.
The man who had been in every position of power in the world of cricket was forced to leave with the BCCI handing him a life ban on charges of gross financial irregularities during the 1996 World Cup.
Having hinted a day earlier that he would tender his resignation at the CAB's working committee meeting convened to discuss his case, Dalmiya did resign. However, there was a twist to the tale that dampened the joy of his detractors. The master of wily games quit but before that convinced one Biswanath Dutt to take charge of CAB in “these difficult circumstances”.
A former BCCI president himself (1989-91), Dutt is regarded as the ultimate authority in the politics of CAB, a body he has headed in the past (1986-91). “I have accepted the offer because people like Siddhartha Shankar Ray, Somnath Chatterjee and also Dalmiya have requested me. They think my experience will help the CAB move in the right direction in this time of crisis," the octogenarian told HT.
This queers the pitch for city police commissioner Prasun Mukherjee who was eyeing the CAB post again after losing to Dalmiya by five votes at the annual general meeting on July 30. Mukherjee could not be contacted and those who helped him in that battle to be CAB president were too stunned to react. People involved in these things for years, however, opined that the police chief stood no chance against Dutt.
If it comes off, with the CAB working committee meeting on January 5 to finalise the date of a special general meeting to elect a new president, this move will be a morale-booster for Dalmiya. He will challenge the BCCI ban any day and if Dutt stands by him, Dalmiya can have the satisfaction of keeping Mukherjee at bay at a time when he had to vacate a post which he had made his own. He had gained authority by amending rules of the CAB in 1998, and also by winning elections.
It will also be a wry reply to chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee who supported Mukerjee wholeheartedly during the CAB elections and even termed Dalmiya's victory as a triumph of “evil over good”.