CAB polls: D-Day for Dalmiya today
Having lost his grip over BCCI, Jagmohan Dalmiya faces perhaps the most crucial test of his career as sports administrator as he takes on Kolkata Police Comissioner Prasun Mukherjee in a highly politicised presidential election of the Cricket Association of Bengal.
Dalmiya, who has had an uninterrupted run as CAB president since 1992-93, is now battling to retain his pocket-borough in the face of stiff opposition by a potent combination of police, government and politicians.
With two voters debarred by the court-appointed observer Justice (retd) S K Phoujdar from attending the AGM over disputes and another affiliated unit restrained by a court order, the total number of votes would be 118, and the rival factions were lobbying hard to reach the magic figure of 60.
Never before has the CAB election, or for that matter polls to any other sports body, attracted so much attention for reasons definitely not connected to the game.
With West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharjee coming out with an unusual public statement that he wanted Dalmiya to stay away from the race for the top post in CAB, politicians of all hues have scrambled to air their views for and against Bhattacharjee's stand.
There have emerged divisions in both West Bengal's ruling Left Front and its major partner CPI(M) over Bhattacharjee's statement, while the opposition Congress and Trinamool Congress criticised him for 'interfering' in the affairs of an autonomous sports body.
Dalmiya, who kept everybody guessing for more than a month on whether he would be in the fray, finaly filed his nomination for the president's post on July 21 ignoring Bhattacharjee's wish.