Three days after beleaguered BCCI president N Srinivasan boasted that he enjoyed the complete support of the cricket board, his claim appeared to be a little hollow as a clutch of biggies came out of the closet on Wednesday demanding his resignation.
The clearest statement of the day came from the Union Sports Ministry, urging the BCCI chief to step down till the inquiry into the IPL spot-fixing was over. Read together with the statements of Union ministers Sharad Pawar and Rajiv Shukla coupled with that of Jyotiraditya Scindia, the impression that the UPA wanted him out immediately could not be mistaken.
“The ministry has observed with considerable disquiet the reports about match and spot-fixing in cricket. The BCCI is inquiring into the allegations. As there is a conflict of interest in this inquiry, the BCCI president should tender his resignation on moral grounds, pending the outcome of the inquiry,” the sports ministry statement said.
Meanwhile, former BCCI chief Sharad Pawar ended his silence and demanded a probe into all IPL-6 matches by the Union Home Ministry. As if on cue, BCCI treasurer Ajay Shirke sought an emergency board meeting to discuss the crisis. IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla and Sports Minister Jitendra Singh too joined the resign-Srinivasan chorus. Shukla said, “Till the pendency of the inquiry, he (Srinivasan) should disassociate himself from the procedure, as earlier also it was discussed that he should disassociate. Disassociate what it means is very clear. He will have to decide now. Me and Jaitley had suggested it to him.” Shukla, however, he didn’t use the word “resignation”.
Shukla’s ambivalence prompted Srinivasan to say that he has not been asked to resign. “I saw Shukla’s interview. What he says is that the commission has been appointed and I should disassociate myself from the procedure as stated in Kolkata. I had said in Kolkata that I will have nothing to do with the commission.”