The upcoming Baroda Cricket Association (BCA) election is likely to see an apparent rift within the BJP,with one faction supporting the Vadodara royal scion and BCA vice-president,Samarjitsinh Gaekwad,and the other backing industrialist and BCA president Chirayu Amin,who is seeking re-election.
Political experts are calling the BCA elections,which will be held on December 15,a dress rehearsal for the Lok Sabha polls between ruling MP Balkrishna Shukla and Samarjitsinh. Sources said that Shukla is supporting Amin,while the others support Samarjitsinh,who is also part of the BJP. According to a source,Political parties have clearly aligned themselves on either sides. While Samarjitsinh largely has support from the BJP,Shukla has moved towards Amin who already has support of several Congress and NCP members.
BJP MLA Yogesh Patel has also offered his support to Samarjitsinh in the upcoming polls. Meanwhile,what is doing the rounds in the BCA corridors is that the voting members of the association are in favour of having cricketers on board to run the administration.
Again,there is the possibility of a third party filing the nomination papers for BCA top post. Dr Jitendra Thakorebhai Patel,popularly known as Popbhai,is expected to file his nomination. But when contacted,Popbhai refused to confirm or deny the news.
According to another source,Popbhais inclusion in the race will prove to be interesting,as it will affect the votes of both the factions,leading to a more nail-biting result.
Sources say that while voting members are in support of a change in the leadership of BCA,the various posts might find people from both factions. Amin has been the BCA president for over 15 years.
A senior member of the association said,It is true that some very bad decisions have been taken in the association in the past couple of years. This is because the people who were in charge of the association did not devote enough time to it,and those who took the matters in their hands in their absence,took decisions that suited their vested interests.
The member also went on to say that several decisions,related to cricket selections and training,have been taken arbitarily,without consulting the experts of the game. Again another voting member said,It is likely that the association will see a change in the leadership as most people are in favour of it. But a single panel may not emerge as the winner because some senior players,who have been sports administrators in the past are on one side. Members will vote for individuals and not panels.
Former cricketers like Kiran More and Anshuman Gaekwad are set to contest for posts in the association from the Amin-led Revival BCA camp,while U-16 cricket mentor Atul Bedade is contesting from the Samarjitsinh camp. More,Gaekwad and Bedade are all strong contenders. The only edge that Amin has over Samarjit is the quality of players on his side, says a neutral political watcher.
In the past three days,lobbies backing both sides has gained more clarity.While the Amin-led Revival BCA camp has the support of corporates and the business community,apart from political influences,Gaekwad has strong support from local players as well as the Maharashtrian voters of the BCA. Gaekwad,who also has a tacit backing of the BJP,is seen as someone with a strong cricketing legacy,taking after his late uncle Maharaja Fatehsinh Gaekwad,who was the president of the Board of Cricket Control of India (BCCI) in 1963-66 as well as an MP.
According to another BCA member,Samarjitsinh has maintained the Gaekwad Baroda golf club extremely well,and has a background in cricket,having played in the domestic circuit.
Annual report not received by many
Several members of the BCA have complained that a copy of the associations annual report has not reached them. They say that this delay has ensured that they dont raise queries on the audit,the last day for which is December 7. Jayesh Verma,a member,said,Ive not received a copy and I have been regularly asking questions. When I called the association to ask about this,they said you can send some body to collect it.