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March 1, 2009
Lalit Modi, the IPL commissioner, has suffered an embarassing defeat in the election for the Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) of which he was president since 2005. Modi lost 13-18 to a state government official, Sanjay Dixit, in Jaipur on Sunday.
The defeat is a personal setback for Modi though it will not affect his position as vice-president of the BCCI since he is also on the board of the Punjab Cricket Association. "The RCA elections have nothing to do with Modi continuing as the vice-president of the BCCI and as chairman and commissioner of the IPL," Shashank Manohar, the BCCI president, said.
The BCCI had appointed Modi as its vice-president till 2011 and IPL chairman till 2013. However, the defeat means that Modi will not be eligible to vote during the Indian board's general body meetings.
Modi, who was close to the previous administration in Rajasthan, was facing resistance at the local association from a group of dissidents ever since a new government took over following state elections late last year. "I paid the price of being close to Vasundhara Raje (former chief minister of Rajasthan)," Modi told reporters after the defeat. "The state government did whatever it could to defeat me."
Local police had also lodged a series of cases against Modi over the last month on various charges, including fraud and forgery.
The dissidents, meanwhile, amended the RCA's constitution with the backing of the state administration and called for elections on February 22. The Supreme Court, however, upheld a plea by Modi who questioned the election process as per the amended constitution and sought the court's intervention to ensure a free and fair election. The court appointed an independent observer to conduct the elections on March 1.
In the build-up to the elections, Modi had said that some IPL games may be shifted out of Jaipur, the base of Rajasthan Royals, this season if there was any opposition from the local government. However, he ruled out that possibility after losing the elections. "There will be no effect on IPL matches; they will be held in Jaipur only," Modi said.
Modi's rise to one of cricket's most powerful figures began with him becoming RCA president after a controversial election in February 2005, ousting the Rungta family which had controlled the Rajasthan association for 38 years.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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