India news September 16, 2013

Chavan, Munde seek MCA office

Two politicial heavyweights from Maharashtra, including chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, have expressed their interest in taking the plunge into Mumbai Cricket Association's administration.

On Monday, a day before the clubs' deadline for submitting their respective representative for the MCA elections to be held on October 18, Chavan was nominated by Mazgaon Cricket Club. ESPNcricinfo understands that Stylo Cricketers, another cricket club affiliated with the MCA, is set to pronounce Gopinath Munde, the Bhartiya Janata Party's (the principal opposition) deputy leader in Lok Sabha, as their representative for the elections.

It was the Mazgaon Cricket Club that had nominated former Maharashtra chief minister and union minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, whose death in July 2012 had paved the way for Ravi Savant to be the interim president for the last 14 months. Despite their political rivalry, Chavan and Munde are likely to join hands for the MCA elections.

While MCA old-timers believe it is a matter of time before Chavan announces his intentions "to be the next MCA president", the Mazgaon CC secretary Shahalam Shaikh said Chavan hadn't made up his mind yet. "Chavan agreed to fill in the void created by Deshmukh's untimely death and represent our club at the MCA elections," Shaikh told ESPNcricinfo. "Whether to contest or not is entirely his own decision and he hasn't yet conveyed it to us till now."

It is expected that while Chavan will file papers for the president's post, Munde will contest for one of the two vice-presidents' posts. If at all Chavan faces resistance, it will be from another political heavyweight Sharad Pawar, the former MCA, BCCI and ICC chief. Though Chavan's and Pawar's political parties run an alliance government in the state of Maharashtra, both the leaders have waged a war of words against each other of late.

It is expected that Chavan and Pawar will strike "some sort of a deal" ahead of the elections, but the Bal Mahaddalkar panel, a powerful group in MCA, stood firm behind Pawar. "As of now, Pawar has made his intentions clear of returning to the MCA and we firmly back him as our leader," Nitin Dalal, MCA joint secretary, said just after the panel's first official meeting with voters.

If elected, Chavan and Munde will join a long list of political figures heading various cricket boards in India. Seven of BCCI's 27 affiliated units are headed by political figures. The MCA, one of the most prestigious provincial cricket bodies in the world, too has had a long tradition of politicians at the head. Barring the exception of former Test cricketer Madhav Mantri (1987-88 to January 92) and Savant (August 2012 till date as interim president), all the presidents over the last 50 years have been politicians.

While Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and his son Aditya are already voters in MCA along with senior state minister Narayan Rane, Nitin Sardesai, a member of legislative assembly from Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, will represent Dadar Parsi Zorastrian Cricket Club.

MCA's biennial elections have been delayed by three months and are slated to be held on October 18. The last date for filing nominations is October 11. The MCA elections are held for president, two vice-presidents, two joint secretaries, treasurer and 11 managing committee members.

Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo