At least 15 state associations went into a huddle via teleconference on Tuesday to decide their future course of action following the latest set of directives from the Committee of Administrators (CoA) issued on Monday.
The CoA’s ‘9+9 advisory’ issued after the announcement of the elections, has created confusion among the BCCI members.
It has clubbed an individual’s tenure in the working committee with his/her term as an office-bearer. For example, if a person has completed three years as an office-bearer in the BCCI and three years as a member of the working committee in a member association consecutively, then he/she will have to serve a three-year cooling-off period before contesting elections in the cricket board or state association.
Also, if a person has completed nine years even as a working/managing/executive committee member in a state association, he/she cannot come back as an office-bearer or a councillor in the state body. Somebody who has completed six years as a BCCI office-bearer and three years as a BCCI working committee member will have hang up his cricket board administrative boots.
It is learnt that heavyweights like former BCCI president N Srinivasan, current Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) president Sourav Ganguly and ex-cricket board secretary Niranjan Shah were part of the conference call where the members considered different options including keeping the upcoming state association elections in abeyance.
Take the case of the CAB, where Ganguly is into his fifth year as an office-bearer – one year as a joint-secretary followed by four years as the president. As per the Lodha Committee recommendation, he can hold office for one more year before going to a cooling-off period. Now, the former India captain had been part of the CAB working committee twice before becoming an office-bearer. Hence, there’s confusion if he would be eligible to contest in the forthcoming state association elections scheduled on September 28. According to a CAB functionary, though, Ganguly wasn’t part of the working committee for two consecutive terms and there was a break. So he would be “fully eligible”.
Some members, however, took serious exception to the CoA advisory. “The new rule that they (CoA) have sent yesterday has changed the complete electorate of each association. That’s not as per the Supreme Court order. So the associations felt that as because it’s a change from the Supreme Court order, it won’t be possible for them to hold elections,” a member from a South Zone association told The Indian Express.
An East Zone unit functionary, on the other hand, spoke about taking the matter before the general body of the association before writing to the amicus curiae PS Narasimha, who is the “mediator between the state associations and the CoA”.
A member from a West Zone association considered taking the issue to the electoral officer first, with a plea to withhold the new CoA advisory.
“We are very unhappy that suddenly, after the elections were announced, this circular has been issued. It changes a lot of things. First, they (CoA) were saying that only office-bearers will have to go for a cooling-off period. Now they are saying everybody (committee members) will have to go for a cooling-off period.
“Once the election is declared, there shouldn’t be any other direction. We will take the matter to the electoral officer first, asking him to hold the elections as per the original guidelines. The next step will be to take it before the amicus,” he told this paper.
The new advisory also creates confusion in state bodies like Kerala, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, for example, where elections have already been held. If they have office-bearers/councillors who are found to be in breach of the latest directives, what will happen? “The new guidelines put state associations in trouble that are already done with their elections,” said a BCCI functionary.
Sources close to the CoA said if any office-bearer/councillor of a state association that is done with its elections is found to be in breach of the new directives, he/she would be ineligible for the BCCI elections. With regards to the state, though, there’s no clarity, for electoral officers are no longer in place post elections.
The CoA, however, is likely to stick to the advisory. “The CoA has gone by the Lodha Committee recommendations and there shouldn’t be any doubt in anybody’s mind. There are rules and regulations that will be followed. Those who are not happy should go to the court,” sources said.