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Rediff.com  » Sports » BCCI rivals in tightrope walk

BCCI rivals in tightrope walk

By M. Chhaya in Kolkata
Last updated on: November 28, 2005 15:58 IST
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Tuesday's elections to the Board of Control for Cricket in India appear set for a thrilling tie-breaker.

With observer T S Krishnamurthy announcing the list of eligible voters on Monday, indications are that the rival factions of the Board are tied with 15-15 votes each.

But, if a favourite must be picked, at this stage it would be the ruling group of Jagmohan Dalmiya, because the president has retained his casting vote in case of a tie.

But the furrows of worry still crease on Dalmiya's brow because he has to ensure against a last-minute defection and also device a strategy to counter the political pressure against him.

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The last of his worries could be his biggest, as sources hinted that "the highest ranks" of the Congress party have thrown their weight behind Sharad Pawar in a manner unseen before.

Pawar, the agriculture minister in the federal coalition, has the biggest member of the alliance, the Congress' support, and the party's top leaders are believed to have sent out 'whips' to several state units to vote for him.

The 'fence-sitters' such as the Services, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Orissa and Gujarat are turning out to be the key units among the 30 affiliates, and the Congress party's direction is expected to influence their decision.

Also, the decision of Krishnamurthy on the voting rights of the affiliate units is crucial. That Jharkhand can vote is good news for the ruling camp. But Dalmiya will be worried about Krishnamurthy's decision on the Delhi and District Cricket Association, Himachal Pradesh, National Cricket Academy and Uttar Pradesh votes.

He will be happy though with the observer's decision to allow the vote of the chairman of the annual general meeting.

Krishnamurthy on Monday agreed to allow president's vote by virtue of him being the chairman for the AGM.

The rival camps have put up their voters in different hotels and the atmosphere in cricket circles of Kolkata is as tense as an edge-of-seat thriller -- a strict eye on the voters, a look-out for the opponent's movements, a hush-hush ambience.

One source said a compromise could be worked at the eleventh hour. If that happens, the two camps could share power.

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M. Chhaya in Kolkata

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