The last date to comply with the Supreme Court orders and hold elections according to the revised constitution is fast approaching, but a significant section of the units affiliated to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) are still to fall in line. It has almost been two months since the Committee of Administrators (CoA) set three timelines. August 14: Finalisation of electoral roll overseen by an electoral officer. September 14: Completion of state elections and submission of names of voters for the BCCI elections. October 22: The elections.
Believe it or not, 10 of the 34 state associations are still to appoint an electoral officer. The CoA has quietly accepted its failure to prepare the electoral roll by August 14 and sent out a reminder that not meeting the September deadline would result in the loss of voting rights at the BCCI elections and certain other privileges that member units enjoy. The list includes high-profile states like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Bengal apart from Jharkhand and Haryana, where two of the current BCCI office-bearers are from. They point at complexities surrounding the implementation of new rules. But one can also sense a disregard for the reform orders and a deep-rooted resistance that has remained despite clear instructions from the apex court. It seems more like a dragging tactic than genuine problem.
By not issuing a sterner warning to the units that disobeyed the August 14 deadline, the CoA has not sent out the best signal. The defaulting bodies can use it as a tool to bargain for more leeway as far as holding elections by September 14 is concerned. If the CoA allows that, the entire exercise will plunge into uncertainty. So the court-appointed panel headed by Vinod Rai has to be strict and not allow more flexibility. It has been two-and-a-half years since the court gave them this responsibility. Even after taking into consideration the difficulties the task entailed, it is fair to say it has been a while. Now that they have set deadlines, it’s important to stick to them and take firm steps, if necessary.