CHENNAI: BCCI elections generally become stale if the president gets elected unanimously. The 84th annual general meeting is different. For the first time in memory, the top post is settled amid conflict for other posts. People in the know couldn’t recall similar precedents.
Members part of deliberations over the last two days hold Anurag Thakur responsible for the drift from pattern. Removed as joint secretary and unwilling to settle for vice-president, the Himachal representative has galvanised opposition at a time when the ruling group was threatening to run away with it. If elections for five of the nine posts indicates rivalry, selection of certain candidates is surprising.
Thakur and Rajeev Shukla held positions in the previous dispensation. Both are taking on candidates from the group they were with. While acknowledging Sharad Pawar’s support helped them firm up their mind, members felt Thakur has been the driving force. His arrival changed the ambiance.
“When continuity is disrupted, elections happen. Thakur has got members to think a different line. Pawar and Shulka are more experienced, but it’s him who has breathed life into the opposition camp,” said a member. Examples of winning against ruling group candidates are rare, but since the BCCI has witnessed unprecedented events of late, nobody is ruling anything out.
If getting a figure like Shukla — vice-president last time — to contest for treasurer is a sign of mobilising resources, Goa representative Chetan Desai’s move to fight for joint secretary shows all six from South are not together. Then, fielding Delhi’s CK Khanna from Central and Kerala’s TC Mathew from West as vice-president candidates suggests this group doesn’t have enough support in these zones. A member felt all these are points to observe, but refused to come to conclusions based on them.
“Thakur wants a promotion from joint secretary. Not content with vice-president, he decided to take on the ruling group and started trying pulling people to his side. East was against him as president, forcing him to contest for secretary,” said a source. Around 40, Thakur has experienced life on both sides of the power divide.
Contrary to perception, equations have forced a situation where BJP’s Amitabh Chaudhary and Thakur, a BJP MP, are on different sides. Pointing at this, a member felt the government hasn’t issued any guideline, as many felt was the case in 2005. Ganga Raju, ruling group vice-president candidate for from South, is also a BJP MP.