Mumbai: Mumbai Cricket Association would continue to be headed by a politician as Union Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh defeated former India skipper Dilip Vengsarkar by a margin of 45 votes in a straight contest to become the new president of the cricket body.
Deshmukh, a vice-president like Vengsarkar in the outgoing committee headed by another political bigwig Sharad Pawar, garnered 181 votes as against Vengsarkar's 136 to emerge triumphant in the biennial elections.
Deshmukh had the backing of Pawar after the Union Agriculture Minister became ineligible to contest the polls as per a clause in the MCA's constitution following a change of his permanent residence status from Mumbai to Baramati.
Pawar's panel members - Prof Ratnakar Shetty and Ravi Savant - were elected as vice-president and treasurer respectively while D Y Patil Sports Academy's chairman Vijay Patil, who contested as an independent, became the other vice-president.
Two other members of the Pawar panel - Dr P V Shetty and Nitin Dalal - also emerged victorious to become the two new joint secretaries.
Like another former India captain before him, Ajit Wadekar, who lost to Pawar, ex-chief selector Vengsarkar was unable to snap the stranglehold of politicians in the MCA.
Despite some hectic lobbying over the last few days and the support extended by another former India skipper Kapil Dev in the run-up to the elections, Vengsarkar failed to buck the near-two-decade-long trend.
Vengsarkar had formed a panel with some of his erstwhile India and Mumbai teammates Karsan Ghavri, Balwinder Sandhu and Chandrakant Pandit who also contested the polls for 11 managing committee posts.