Union minister Sharad Pawar is all set to start his second innings as president of the Mumbai Cricket Association after the candidature of his lone rival and BJP leader Gopinath Munde was rejected.
However, things may finally land in a court as an unhappy Munde has decided to take a legal course against Mumbai Cricket Association's decision to bar him from elections due on Friday.
He told media after the ruling on Thursday that he would move city civil court. The leader has been barred from contesting against NCP boss Sharad Pawar on the grounds that he was not resident of Mumbai. Pawar will now get elected unopposed. He was MCA president for many terms till 2011.
MCA has become fiefdom of Sharad Pawar. He has monopoly over there. Even cricketers are not happy there," he said.
The NCP chief had headed the association for a decade from 2001-2011 before he stepped aside for Vilasrao Deshmukh to succeed him till the latter's death in August last year.
Pawar is being backed by all the three groups contesting the biennial election, which has already seen intense lobbying for all the other posts in the managing committee.
The three panels - Bal Mahaddalkar group, Cricket First and Shetty's group - are headed by outgoing MCA chief Ravi Savant, incumbent vice-president Vijay Patil and cricket board's general manager (game development), Ratnakar Shetty.
Savant and Patil are involved in a fight for bagging the two vice-presidents' post in a triangular contest also featuring Shetty's panel member Pankaj Thakur.
MCA's long-time administrator Shetty, however, has been debarred from contesting the polls as he is a paid employee of MCA's parent body BCCI.
The treasurer's post would see a straight contest between Vinod Deshpande (Mahaddalkar group) and Mayank Khandwala (Cricket First).
There are four contestants for the two joint secretaries' post - incumbents Nitin Dalal and Dr P V Shetty (both Mahaddalkar group), Dr Unmesh Khanvilkar (Cricket First) and former joint secretary Pravin Barve (Shetty group).
Munde calls his rejection a conspiracy
Gopinath Munde has described the rejection of his candidature as a conspiracy against him and hit out at Pawar.
"This is a conspiracy against me. I am fighting for justice. There is a monopoly of Sharad Pawar in MCA. I want to fight against this monopoly and I feel that the president should give me justice. If he does not give, I will go to Mumbai high court," said the BJP leader.
Munde's lawyer Nitin Pradhan also claimed it was a stage-managed objection.
"It appears to be a stage-managed objection. There was no question of Singhvi attending the scrutiny. No notice was given to candidates, but how was the voter given the notice and how he was allowed to remain present during the scrutiny of nomination. There was no transparency," he said.
Munde on Wednesday had said the same rule is applicable to Sharad Pawar, whose documents in Lok Sabha show that he is a resident of Baramati.
However, Savant said Pawar had submitted a letter with the voters' list to the association in June, indicating his change of address.
"Sharad Pawar's record that we have as on June 2013, we got a letter on June 6, 2013, which said he has shifted his permanent residence to Mumbai. His name is in the voter’s list and he had submitted that proof to us. When he filled the form, he was a permanent resident of Mumbai," said Savant.
Munde's contention was that as per a bye-law of the association, only a candidate at the election can object against nomination of other candidates and in his case the objection had been raised by a Vile Parle Club representative, who is not a candidate at the polls.
"There is a bye-law rule number 6 which says that nobody can take any objection to a candidate. Only candidates take objection against other candidates.
"The person who has taken objection against me, he was a Singhvi from Vile Parle Club. He has no legal right to object to my candidature. The election officers have no right to listen to him. After it happened, my application was rejected," he said.
(With PTI inputs)