January 20, 2001

Pawar power in MCA

Staff Reporter

The hype in the media and the cricketing circles of Mumbai finally came to an end at midnight on Friday as NCP leader Sharad Pawar was elected as the President of the Mumbai Cricket Association.

Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Pawar won by a margin of 60 votes. Pawar had 185 votes whereas his rival Ajit Wadekar had 125. The ballots were sealed and sent for counting at 6:15 PM, the results were not announced until midnight. The celebrations began late in the night as Pawar's victory was celebrated with fire crackers and a musical band.

Ajit Wadekar told CricInfo," It was just like a Test match, I am not at all worried." Wadekar had the support of both the Manohar Joshi and Bal Mahaddalkar panels. Wadekar was the Vice-President of the outgoing Managing Committee headed by former Maharashtra Chief Minister and Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi.

A majority of the contesting candidates in this election were players but it was surprising that only two of the seven Test cricketers were elected. Ajit Wadekar, Raju Kulkarni, Karsan Ghavri, Lalchand Rajput, Kenia Jayantilal, Chandrakant Pandit and Sudhir Naik all contested the elections, but only Rajput and Pandit were elected to the Managing Committee.

What was being built up as a war between cricketers and administrators turned out to be a damp squid as the administrators made a clean sweep of the elections. Milind Rege and Deepak Jadhav both first class cricketers also lost in the elections.

In fact, Chandrakant Pandit, Karsan Ghavri and Dr Arun Shamsi were not even present at the elections and none of them voted. Indeed, Pandit is playing in a Ranji Trophy match for Madhya Pradesh against Uttar Pradesh at Kanpur. Shamsi arrived at the Wankhede only after the ballot boxes had been sealed. Of the 323 eligible voters, 311 cast their votes on Friday.

With all the hype surrounding the Presidential candidates, the positions of the two Vice Presidents were won by Pravin Barve (MIG) and Ravi Savant (Aarey CC). Barve was supported by the Manohar Joshi group and Savant was backed by the Bal Mahaddalkar panel. Barve was the Jt Hon Secretary in the last term.

Prof Ratnakar Shetty (Wilson College) was relected to the position of Jt Hon Secretary, the second Jt Hon Secretary is Mayank Khandwalla (Shree Lad).The ever reliable Ramesh Kosambia was elected as the Treasurer.

The eleven elected members on The Management committee are Shripad Halbe (Oriental CC), Nitin Dalal (Star CC), Lalchand Rajput (Forbes Group SC), Dr PV Shetty (New Amrut CC), Dr Arun Shamsi (Old Podarites CC), Nadeem Memon (Anjuman Islam), Hemant Waigankar (Sungrace Mafatlal SC), Pravin Gogri (Dahisar SC), Jayant Jhaveri (Fort Vijay), Madhoo Patwardhan (Bhavishya Nidhi Staff CC) and Chandrakant Pandit.

Pravin Gogri was elected for the fourth consecutive term which also happens to be his last term in the Managing Committee.

Polly Umrigar was pleased at the results of the elections. He told CricInfo, " I am happy with the current crowd, it is a good mixture of talented people." Umrigar was present at the Wankhede stadium well into the night as he awaited the results of the elections with other members.

All through the afternoon the Wankhede stadium was flocked by the NCP supporters and the stadium seemed like a political gathering. The Pawar panel was present in full support of their leader. Well over a thousand supporters were seen in and around the Wankhede stadium. They looked confident of their leader's victory as they came well prepared with sweets, fire crackers and a musical band for the celebrations.

Eight candidates from the Bal Mahaddalkar group, six from the Manohar Joshi group and two from the Pawar panel were elected to the seventeen positions in the MCA office.

The Manohar Joshi group has one elected Vice-President candidate, one Jt Hon Secretary and four members in the Managing Committee. The Sharad Pawar panel won the President's post and one seat in the Managing Commitee. The Bal Mahaddalkar group has one elected Vice- President candidate, one Jt Hon Secretary and six seats in the Managing Committee.