It's been the most uncertain BCCI election ever. In the past you may have had drama, betrayal and emotion but this election has been a cold hard game of thrones. Till three hours before the time to file for nominations nobody knew for certain who would be the candidates for the post of President. Usually, members arrive one day before the election but this time they knew one day wouldn't be enough. This time not only were the members here in Chennai 2 days before the day of the election but also deliberations, back room negotiations and horse trading had begun well in advance. Such was the skill needed that former BCCI heavyweights in Shashank Manohar (former President) and Ajay Shirke (former treasurer) were presently super active to lead the strategy and game of persuasion.
Jagmohan Dalmiya's tenure as the next BCCI President was increasingly becoming inevitable as the day went on but optimistic senior BCCI members maintained anything was still possible. The 'anything' being the nomination of Anurag Thakur or Shivlal Yadav for the post of BCCI President. Crucial to their nominations were endorsements by at least 2 of the 6 East Zone State Associations. But 2 of these 6 were already controlled by Dalmiya himself. This made life difficult for the Sharad Pawar and N Srinivasan camps. Both found it difficult to muster the support needed.
The compromise it seemed was to allow Jagmohan Dalmiya a clear way to the post of President and fight instead for the remaining crucial office bearer positions.
By lunch time this was seemingly a given. Neither factions saw eye to eye after which it was just a matter of filing nominations. The key being a thorough yet unpredictable calculation based on a little more than a man's word.
With the time to file nominations fast approaching came the walk of one the camps. As Sharad Pawar walking with the help of a walking stick made his way to the nomination hall the likes of Anurag Thakur, Ajay Shirke and Rajeev Shukla cordoned off the onlookers. All this while N Srinivasan was nowhere to be seen, seemingly already in position.
At 4 PM came the nominations. Till 5 PM they had a chance to withdraw their names.
The Sharad Pawar faction filed nominations for 3 office bearer posts. They nominated Anurag Thakur as Secretary, Rajeev Shukla as treasurer. and Goa's Chetan Desai as Joint Secretary. The Srinivasan camp on other hand nominated Sanjay Patel as Secretary, Amitabh Choudhary for joint Secretary, Anirudh Choudhary for Treasurer.
Then came the post of the Vice Presidents. Just when one thought it was over MP Pandove (Supposed Pawar camp) withdrew his candidature as BCCI Vice President from the North Zone. Within minutes you could see members of the Pawar camp striding off to understand just why such a move was taken.
Now, this election, from being all about who will be the next president is all about who will be the next secretary. A post which is arguably as powerful as that of the President as it is the position mandated to make everyday decisions. Anurag Thakur has the heavy responsibility of not letting the BJP down. Sanjay Patel has none of that. At the time of print N Srinivasan is hosting a dinner for his loyalists and those who are supporting Sanjay Patel. The Sharad Pawar faction is seemingly going from pillar to post trying to ensure it ensures a final knockout punch to Srinivasan. The key though in this bout will be the referee or should we say Chairman. Technically the chairman will be elected on the floor of the house and then will take some crucial deadlock breaking decisions that could go a long way in determining what seems like a split decision at the moment.