As of now. These are perhaps the three most important words in the dynamic yet complicated politics of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), especially in the days ahead of elections.
With the BCCI annual general meeting (AGM) just five days away, it is looking increasingly likely that N.Srinivasan would get the third and final year of his term as president.
But, reminds a seasoned Board official, anything is possible in the constantly fluctuating politics of the world’s richest cricket body. And, after saying that Srinivasan was on a good wicket, he, for good measure, added “... as of now”. Srinivasan is battling heavy odds as his son- in- law Gurunath Meiyappan has been chargedsheeted by the Mumbai Police for leaking information and betting against his own IPL franchise, the Chennai Super Kings, owned by Srinivasan’s company India Cements. Srinivasan stepped aside from the day-today working of the Board in June.
Srinivasan’s critics are raising the issue of morality and propriety, and the business tycoon has quite bravely withstood the storm since the IPL betting-fixing scandal broke out.
According to the two-plus-one-year rule for the Board’s office-bearers, Srinivasan, also president of the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association ( TNCA), can continue as president for the third year if there is no opposition, or else he will have to beat the challenger to complete the full tenure.
The first step for the so-called opposition will be to prop up a challenger who is able to get support of two of the six south zone associations, to propose and second his candidature.
According to the BCCI constitution, the presidential candidate (s) for the third year has to be from the zone whose turn it is. In this case, it is South Zone.
Therefore, if two south zone associations are not with the ‘opposition’, any number of votes in the other four zones in the 30-member general body cannot dislodge Srinivasan.
That’s most important, because without fulfilling this requirement Srinivasan cannot be removed. The only other way he can be checkmated is if a court intervenes and restrains him from continuing in the chair or contesting, in case of a challenger emerging.
As of now, Karnataka, Hyderabad, Andhra, Goa and Kerala besides, of course, Tamil Nadu, have said they are firmly with Srinivasan. Even the small group that is supposedly opposed to Srinivasan has started to concede that it would be difficult to get hold of two associations from the south. The top official of a north zone state association known to be against Srinivasan showed the first sign of giving up on raising a challenger.
“There is no question of whether or not numbers are with Srinivasan. The main consideration is how much support he has from south zone. If there is no opposition within south zone, numbers [elsewhere] become irrelevant. All south units are with Srinivasan, as of now,” the official told Mail Today. The secretary of an east zone association that is with Srinivasan said the fence sitters have been “managed”. “ Andhra and Goa were probably not exactly with Srinivasan initially. But they have been managed,” the secretary told Mail Today. Andhra Cricket Association secretary G.Ganga Raju and Goa Cricket Association president Vinod Phadke, both of whom were absent from a meeting of south zone associations called by Srinivasan, have told this paper that they were firmly with the Tamil Nadu strongman.
But, as they say, there’s many a slip between the lip and the cup. A confident Srinivasan loyalist from west zone, however, termed his position as “ very strong” and said that it should be smooth sailing for him when the general body meets in Chennai next Sunday.
Some disgruntled associations tried to convince former president Shashank Manohar to return and challenge Srinivasan, but the ‘opposition’ hasn’t so far been able to get the required proposer and seconder.
Manohar himself has denied he was seeking re-election. In a related development on Monday, the Cricket Association of Bihar moved an application in an ongoing case in the Supreme Court, praying to restrain Srinivasan from contesting for the post of president and also from being part of any committee until the original case is decided.
The court may hear the interim application on Tuesday as it would have to take a decision before the AGM takes place on Sunday.
Srinivasan has maintained that he has not done any wrong, so he would continue, even if it means fighting an election.