Journalist Rajat Sharma has thrown his hat in the ring for the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) elections scheduled to be held on June 30 and will be contesting for the president’s post. Sharma, the chairman and editor in chief of the Hindi channel India TV, is the host of the popular show aap ki adalat. “Several cricketer friends and administrators had been persuading me for a long time to step into the DDCA, which I had been resisting. Being a cricket enthusiast I gave in finally,” Sharma said on Wednesday.
Sharma told The Indian Express that he had sought the approval of finance minister Arun Jaitley before deciding to contest the polls. Sharma and Jaitley go back a long way. Jaitley had held the post of DDCA president for over a decade and was then the patron till 2014. “My association with Arun Jaitley is for the last 44 years. His contribution to DDCA is immense. I would not step into DDCA without his approval,” Sharma said. Among those who met Sharma on Wednesday was former DDCA treasurer Narinder Batra, the president of the Indian Olympic Association and the International Hockey Federation.
Vinod Tihara, the former convenor of the sports committee, too was part of the delegation which met Sharma, as was Sneh Bansal, a former president of DDCA, accused of misappropriation of funds. Tihara, who is contesting for the post of secretary welcomed Sharma’s decision. “Rajat Sharma has a good reputation and it will be an honour if he is part of the DDCA. If people like him join the association it will benefit the game of cricket,” Tihara said.
Om Prakash Sharma, a BJP MLA, and Rakesh Bansal, a former patron of DDCA, will be contesting for the post of director and vice-president respectively, Tihara confirmed.
The administrative and financial mess in the DDCA had resulted in the Delhi High Court appointing Justice (retired) Mukul Mudgal as observer in 2015. In January last year Justice (retired) Vikramajit Sen was appointed as administrator by the high court after Mudgal said that he did not wish to continue.
“It is my resolve to clean up the administration and the first step will be to pledge that I will not take any benefits from the DDCA – no expenses, no perks. My aim is to contribute to this great sport and not to gain financially or professionally from it,” Sharma said. The DDCA elections will be conducted under the supervision of electoral officer Rakesh Mehta, a former state election commissioner of Delhi and Chandigarh. According to the model code of conduct proxy voting will not be allowed as per the Lodha Committee recommendations. Candidates will not be allowed to use vehicles to bring members to the voting venue on the date of polling, the model code of conduct states. A member is allowed to contest for only one post.