India news September 1, 2013

Srinivasan attends, Dalmiya chairs BCCI meeting

N Srinivasan returned to the BCCI's administrative fold but didn't chair the working committee meeting in Kolkata on Sunday. Instead, Jagmohan Dalmiya, the interim board head, presided over the last meeting of the BCCI's annual cycle.

After arriving in Kolkata on Sunday morning, Srinivasan is understood to have had brief one-on-one meetings with almost all the working-committee members. The exercise was primarily aimed at staking a claim for a one-year extension as BCCI president in the annual general meeting, which will now be held on September 29 in Chennai.

The BCCI president had voluntarily stepped aside after his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan, also a senior Chennai Super Kings official, was arrested during the IPL spot-fixing scandal. Despite Srinivasan's keenness on chairing the meeting, it is understood the decision not to do so was based on suggestions from the legal team.

Since the BCCI has already submitted an affidavit in court in connection with a public interest litigation filed by the Cricket Association of Bihar saying Jagmohan Dalmiya is running the day-to-day affairs of the board, had Srinivasan chaired the meeting, it might have been viewed as a contempt of court. As a result, Dalmiya chaired the meeting, with Srinivasan attending as the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association president, thus making it a rarest-of-rare incident of a BCCI president attending a working committee meeting but not chairing it.

While he didn't have a direct discussion with former IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla, who is believed to be opposing Srinivasan's return to power, two other senior board members - vice-president Arun Jaitley and joint secretary Anurag Thakur - preferred to join the meeting via video conferencing from New Delhi.

Even though Srinivasan didn't chair the meeting, as confirmed by the BCCI press release, he executed "statutory and constitutional" duties of the BCCI president. Srinivasan also confirmed after the meeting that he will "chair the AGM", as required by the BCCI constitution.

While many would have seen Srinivasan's inability to preside over the meeting as a setback for him, the BCCI president's supporters were happy with the manner in which the day unfolded. "It was important to first execute all his powers and duties as the BCCI president," a Srinivasan aide said. "More importantly, the one-on-ones he had in the morning would help him avoid opposition while seeking an extension for another year."

With four weeks remaining for the AGM, the anti-Srinivasan camp would now be hoping that former BCCI and ICC president Sharad Pawar decides to enter into the fray. If Pawar, who is also a senior minister in the federal government, has to contest against Srinivasan, he would need a proposer and a seconder from the South Zone. All the members from the zone are staunch supporters of Srinivasan. However, with Pawar having proven his vote-management skills in the past, Srinivasan's detractors would be banking on him to return to the BCCI fold. While Pawar has not revealed any plans so far, a BCCI insider close to the former president said his possible candidature for the top post "cannot be ruled out".

Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo