BCCI members look to BJP for next step
Twenty-four hours after receiving the biggest blow from the nation's apex court, BCCI members have put the ball in the court of the Bharatiya Janata Party, the principal ruling party in India.
A majority of BCCI members confided that it would be best if N Srinivasan's fate is decided in consultation with the BJP. Of the 30 BCCI full members, at least one-third of the associations are directly controlled by the BJP. The ruling party has so far not commented on the verdict.
Here are the possible factors that could determine the next BCCI regime:
Jaitley, the kingmaker
It is understood that finance minister Arun Jaitley is likely to get the ball rolling once he returns from the World Economic Forum in Davos over the weekend. Jaitley, a former BCCI vice-president, has been a Srinivasan supporter during the crisis over the last 20 months. The rest of the BJP hierarchy is likely to follow the suggestions of the seasoned administrator.
Despite the court's blow, Srinivasan still enjoys the support of the majority of the BCCI members. It is possible that Srinivasan's discussions with Jaitley will decide whether it would be wiser to pitch for a Srinivasan confidant as a proxy president or appoint a fresh set of office-bearers.
Who can be the new president?
According to the BCCI rulebook, it is the East Zone's turn to nominate a president till September 2017. An eligible candidate from any other zone can contest the election if he gets a proposer and a seconder from East Zone. Only an individual who has attended two AGMs and has held at least one of the five key posts in the BCCI - president, secretary, joint-secretary, treasurer and vice-president - can file his nomination papers for the president's post.
Going by the criteria, Jagmohan Dalmiya and Chitrak Mitra are the only two candidates from East Zone who are eligible to contest the election. Both have been loyal Srinivasan supporters so far. Despite Dalmiya, who controls two key votes from the east, having expressed displeasure in public at times over certain decisions of the Srinivasan regime over the last two years, he has never voted against the ruling faction. Ranjib Biswal and Amitabh Chaudhary - two more Srinivasan loyalists from the zone - won't be eligible since they haven't held an office-bearer's post.
There is a possibility of either having a proxy president or bringing in a fresh set of officials, depending on the preference of Jaitley and Co. In case of the former, Sanjay Patel would be the most ideal candidate. The current secretary has remained a Srinivasan supporter all through the crisis. Though he doesn't enjoy the support of Baroda Cricket Association's managing committee, he is close to BCA chief Samarjit Gaekwad who has a very good rapport with the BJP.
If the BJP shoots down the proxy-president proposal, then Rajiv Shukla and Anurag Thakur - the two aspiring candidates - will try and pounce on the opportunity. Despite being from the Congress, the main opposition party, Shukla enjoys a healthy relationship with Jaitley, while Thakur is a BJP member of parliament. He is also the incumbent BCCI joint-secretary.
The other two obvious candidates are Dalmiya and Mitra, with their eligibility from the East Zone. Dalmiya's ill health is likely to go against him. If a non-East Zone member takes charge, then either Biswal or Chaudhary would emerge as front-runners for the secretary's post.
Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo