In the past few days, Arun Jaitley, the BCCI vice-president from North Zone, has remained the most neutral of all top officials. He said a couple of days back that he wanted a meeting to resolve the crisis over the demand for N Srinivasan's resignation.
He insisted it wasn't just about the numbers. Despite speculation that he was against Srinivasan, he didn't openly show his preferences.
But on Sunday morning, Jaitley played the most crucial role by refusing to take over as interim president of the board. Hectic parleying had started on Saturday evening between N Srinivasan, Cricket Association of Bengal chief Jagmohan Dalmiya and Jaitley and it took about half an hour on Sunday morning to decide the matter in favour of Dalmiya.
As HT had reported on Sunday, the post was first offered to Jaitley.
However, he suggested the name of Shashank Manohar, which was not accepted by Srinivasan. Jaitley then suggested the name of Dalmiya, who was finally put in interim charge.
“I didn't take up the post as the general elections are up next year and I will be busy with party work,” Jaitley told HT on Sunday after the Chennai meeting. He and BCCI joint secretary Anurag Thakur joined the meeting via video conference and backed Dalmiya.
Jaitley said Dalmiya appeared to be the best option after Manohar as he was an experienced official capable of tackling difficult situations.
A BCCI official said: “He is the senior BJP leader and is expected to play a crucial role in the elections. If the BCCI were not in rough waters, he may have considered it.”
Jaitley's backing for Dalmiya could well be reciprocated as it is East Zone's turn to nominate the next president. It is widely believed that it would back Jaitley.