Buddhadev Bhattacharjee, the chief minister of West Bengal, has labelled Jagmohan Dalmiya's re-election as Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) president as a "victory of evil over good". Bhattacharjee, who had backed Dalmiya's prime opposer Prasun Mukherjee, the police commissioner of Kolkata, has vowed to remove Dalmiya in the interest of cricket.
"So far [as] I'm concerned I'll not compromise with this man," he told reporters. "The battle will continue. I want him to leave this post. I want him to leave the organization. So long [as] he is there in the CAB the future of cricket in Bengal is doomed. He has many interests ... vested interests ... all interests other than cricket. Unless he leaves, it will further deteriorate."
Bhattacharjee had publicly opposed Dalmiya's campaign for the top spot well before the election date but his words had little effect on the result. Dalmiya went ahead and filed his nomination and won the highly politicised election late Sunday.
Bhattacharjee backed his anti-Dalmiya campaign again and emphatically stated that this was not a battle between two individuals. "It's a fight between good and evil forces. Evil has triumphed this time. It happens at times," he said. "Whatever I said, I said consciously. In normal circumstances one does not take such a stand. But there are times when it is a crime not to intervene when such interventions are necessary. I said this in the interest of Bengal cricket, the cricketers and to save the Eden Gardens which has become a condemned stadium. And accordingly I had requested Sports Minister Subhas Chakraborty to persuade Dalmiya to stay away."
Bhattacharjee also felt that there were plenty in West Bengal who were apprehensive of the CAB's management. "Cricketers, both former and current, and also budding ones, do not like it," he said. "Some well-meaning persons wanted to bring about a change in the CAB. But unfortunately they were defeated."
However, veteran CPI(M) leader Jyoti Basu on Monday disapproved of Bhattacharjee's statements, asserting that Dalmiya had triumphed through democratic means. "I don't know what he has said. We will discuss it in the party," Basu said when his comment was sought. When it was pointed out that Bhattacharjee had described Mr. Dalmiya as an "evil force," Basu said the CAB president had won the election in a democratic way.
Chakraborty, who openly sided with Dalmiya despite Bhattacharjee's request, summed up Dalmiya's win as a victory for democracy. "I congratulated Dalmiya on his re-election and Prasun Mukherjee whose defeat proved that political interference in cricket was wrong," he said. "It will be a bit of an embarrassment to the chief minister as his nominee Kolkata Police Comissioner Prasun Mukherjee could not win."
Bhattacharjee refrained from comment on Chakraborty's stance during the controversial election.