Can Vijay Patil do the unthinkable? Beat Sharad Pawar in MCA polls

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Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

The NCP chief and former BCCI and ICC president Sharad Pawar, along with three others, have filed nominations for the post of president, at the elections of the Mumbai Cricket Association, scheduled on June 17, the MCA announced recently . As per the list of valid nominations received for the elections and released through a media release by MCA, incumbent Pawar and his group members Ravi Savant and BJP MLA Ashish Shelar, along with rival group’s candidate Vijay Patil, are in the fray to contest for the president’s post.

“They are only dummy nominations,” said a member of the ruling Bal Mahaddalkar group, which is supporting Pawar, regarding the nominations filed by outgoing vice president Ravi Savant and Shelar.  With June 13 designated as the deadline for withdrawal of nominations, Savant and Shelar are expected to drop out of the fray, leaving Pawar in a straight fight against Patil, who is leading the “Cricket First” group in the elections.

Shelar has also filed his nomination for the Vice President’s post, along with Mahaddalkar group member and former India captain Dilip Vengsarkar, while Savant’s name is there among those who have filed nominations for the two joint secretary’s post.

Seven others – including former cricketers Abey Kuruvilla, Lalchand Rajput and Sanjay Patil who are part of “Cricket First” panel – are in the fray to contest for the two Vice Presidents’ posts. Republican Party of India (A) chief Ramdas Athawale and Shiv Sena’s Pratap Sarnaik, along with Rahul Shewale, are three others in the fray for Vice President post.

The rival groups are well represented in the fight for the two Joint Secretary’s post, as well as that of the Treasurer, as also in the contest for a spot in the eleven-strong managing committee.

Ahead of the polls, the Maratha Stalwart and former BCCI and ICC president,  Pawar, at a group meeting held recently, asked the MCA members to show loyalty and gets all its 17 candidates elected to ensure that “the Wankhede Stadium remains the prime centre of cricket activity.”

Political leaders have been president of the MCA for about four and half decades of the last 50 years, with the Congress party’s Sesharao Wankhede enjoying the longest stint of 24 years, from 1963. Thereafter, Shiv Sena’s Manohar Joshi, was President for eight years, after which  Pawar was the President for five consecutive terms, lasting ten years. Vilasrao Deshmukh was President for a little over one year before he died, due to a liver ailment. Mr. Pawar was elected unopposed in 2013, for a two year term.

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