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Sourav Ganguly, Mohammad Azharuddin in shortlist to contest BCCI elections

Sourav Ganguly rings the bell BCCI

Former India captains Mohammad Azharuddin and Sourav Ganguly along with former India batsman Brijesh Patel are among the biggest names put forward to contest the BCCI elections scheduled for October 23.

They were part of an electoral draft roll made public on Friday which also included Jay Shah (Gujarat Cricket Association secretary and son of India's Home Minister Amit Shah), Arun Dhumal (president Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association and brother of former BCCI president Anurag Thakur), Rajeev Shukla (former IPL chairman), Rajat Sharma (Delhi Districts Cricket Association president) and Jaydev Shah (Saurashtra Cricket Association president and son former BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah)

Friday was the last date for all the state associations to wrap up their polls and send in the names of a representative that would attend the BCCI's annual general meeting, which happens alongside the elections.

This list of 38 representatives would now be vetted by the BCCI's electoral officer N Gopalswami before releasing a final electoral list on October 10. The state associations would then have to send in names from that final electoral list of representatives to contest various positions at the BCCI elections. On October 16, a week before the elections, the BCCI would release the final list of candidates along with the positions they would be contesting.

The board would be looking to fill five office bearer posts (president, vice-president, secretary, joint secretary and treasurer), one seat on the Apex Council and two positions on the IPL Governing Council.

Although Ganguly, who was re-elected president of the Cricket Association of Bengal, has been to a BCCI AGM previously, he has never contested the elections. It remains to be seen whether he would put his hat in the ring considering the BCCI's new constitution, framed as per the RM Lodha Committee reforms, dictates that he would have to accept a cooling off period of three years after he completes six years as office bearer. That is only 10 months away.

Azharuddin, meanwhile, would be attending the board's AGM for the first time. But the new president of the Hyderabad Cricket Association would be surrounded by people who were close to him during his playing career, including Patel and Shukla, a veteran administrator and former IPL chairman.

Both Shukla and Patel did not take part in elections at their respective state associations - Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka - but have still been pitched as representatives. Questions would be raised about their eligibility considering both Shukla and Patel have already served several years as office bearers at their state associations.

Eligibility is bound to become a key factor in the coming weeks keeping in mind the rules drawn by the Committee of Administrators (CoA), which was appointed as the supervisory authority of the BCCI by the Supreme Court on January 30, 2017.

The CoA has made it clear that in order to participate in the BCCI AGM and nominate a representative for the elections, state associations' constitutions would need to be compliant with that of the board's. If not, they would not be allowed to cast their vote nor would their respresentative be allowed to contest for a position in the elections. Gopalswami has reiterated that point in the communication he has sent in the last two weeks.

Not everyone agrees with this though. The Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA), the bastion of former BCCI president N Srinivasan, has challenged the CoA directive and told Gopalswami that as far as it was concerned, it was compliant and would be the attending the AGM and contesting the elections.