The Lalit Modi-group is claiming victory after the Rajasthan Cricket Association held its elections in Jaipur on Thursday defying the threat of expulsion from the Indian cricket Board. All eyes were on the controversial Modi, who is aiming to return as RCA president. Modi, who has been banned for life by the Board of Control for Cricket in India for wrongdoings as Indian Premier League commissioner, represented the Nagaur District Cricket Association and qualified as a candidate because the RCA elections were governed by the Rajasthan Sports Act 2005 and not by BCCI's bye-laws for affiliated units. The results of the elections will be announced by the Supreme Court on January 6 after the sealed ballot box is opened in Delhi. The Modi faction is confident of having the support of at least 25 units out of the 33 districts eligible to vote.
Modi was elected as RCA president in 2005 when BJP's Vasundhara Raje was Rajasthan Chief Minister. Interestingly, Raje is again back in control after BJP swept the recent Rajasthan Assembly elections. Thursday's elections were overseen by two retired judges appointed by the Supreme Court. Justice NM Kasliwal had cleared Modi's candidature on Wednesday and allowed the former IPL boss to contest against Bhilwara District Cricket Association's Rampal Sharma, who is believed to be close to incumbent president CP Joshi, a Congress heavyweight. Joshi did not contest this time.
Modi's decision to contest the Rajasthan elections clearly angered the BCCI. The Board threatened to strip RCA off all privileges and benefits if it elected the 50-year-old Modi, who now lives in exile in the United Kingdom. The BCCI said Modi should not be allowed to continue to hold his post of Nagaur District Cricket Association president. On Wednesday, BCCI reiterated its stand and said that RCA might face dire consequences if it did not stop Modi from contesting the polls. Now that Modi is set to be elected, Rajasthan could lose the right of sending players to BCCI-affiliated tournaments and lose over Rs 2 crore in financial aid. This could set off a slew of legal battles between the BCCI and the RCA.
On September 25, 2013, the BCCI unanimously imposed a life ban on Modi after he was charged with financial wrongdoings when he was IPL commissioner from 2008 to 2010. Modi's return as RCA chief will have massive repercussions on the BCCI and its top management, led by N. Srinivasan. Modi and Srinivasan don't see eye-to-eye and it was the latter's clout that saw the former IPL chief's ouster from Indian cricket administration.
Many see the RCA election as a fight between Modi and Srinivasan. Modi is a known Sharad Pawar loyalist and with winds of political change blowing over the country, the RCA elections will surely affect the fragile power equations within the BCCI. Former Board chief, Pawar is now the president of the Mumbai Cricket Association and was reportedly against the controversial Srinivasan getting an extension as BCCI chief during the Board AGM in September in Chennai this year.