Modi upset on home turf,loses RCA elections

Lalit Modi suffered a setback on Sunday when he lost his bid to stay on as the president of the Rajasthan Cricket Association...

Written by Apurva | Jaipur | Published:March 2, 2009 1:42 am

The Indian Premier League’s (IPL) high-flying commissioner Lalit Modi suffered a setback on Sunday when he lost his bid to stay on as the president of the Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA).

After a bitter election campaign marred by allegations and counter allegations,Modi was defeated 18-13 by serving IAS officer Sanjay Dixit,who is the secretary of the Department of Horticulture in the Rajasthan government and the head of the Barmer District Cricket Association (BDCA).

Dixit’s group,of which former RCA secretary Subhash Joshi was a part,won all 21 executive committee seats. Modi’s staunch supporter Ameen Pathan also lost the election for the post of secretary to Ashok Kumar Ohri,the president of Churu District Cricket Association.

While the result does not immediately impact Modi’s position as a BCCI vice-president because he is also an official of the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) led by IS Bindra,it is a blow to his image at a time when he had emerged as one of the country’s most powerful sports administrators. He,however,loses his voting rights in the BCCI AGM.

After the loss,Modi said he was disappointed but alleged that Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s Congress government had played a part in his defeat. “Of course it’s disappointing,but this is how it is in an election. We were fighting against the entire state government and machinery,” Modi said.

When Modi had first come to power in the RCA in 2005,defeating Kishore Rungta,the rival faction had similarly alleged that he had been helped by the state’s BJP Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje.

‘IPL independent of this’

“We were stalled every way in the run-up to the elections,but have still managed to come out on top,” Dixit said. “Despite Modi and his numerous legal challenges,we have swept the elections. The IPL and the elections are independent of each other. We will work with the BCCI to ensure a successful IPL.”

Though Modi had suggested last month that Jaipur could lose out as an IPL venue,he said on Sunday that matches would be hosted in the city as per schedule.

Joshi,the former secretary in Modi’s committee who had taken the fight to the IPL Commissioner in January,pulled out of the fray on Saturday in favour of Dixit. He will now be appointed as the RCA’s nominee to the BCCI. “We are very happy with the victory and will ensure the betterment of cricket in the state,” Joshi said.

Earlier in the day,the battle for the elections had turned ugly when Dixit filed a police complaint alleging that Modi had threatened him. The police said they were investigating the matter but no FIR had been lodged yet.

Just ahead of the election,Modi faced allegations of cheating and forgery. A complaint was filed in Jaipur for alleged failure to deposit money for the Jaipur blast victims in the Chief Minister’s relief fund. This complaint followed an allegation of forgery related to a land purchase in Nagaur district,and a charge of misappropriation of funds during the 2007 World Cup. Modi had repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

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