Sandeep Patil’s bid to become the first Test cricketer in three decades to head the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) as Amol Kale from the politically overloaded Sharad Pawar-Ashish Shelar Group during a fiercely contested triennial election on Thursday.
Kale, a close aide of Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, defeated Patil by 25 votes in the election that saw 343 of the 356 eligible voters casting their vote. While Kale garnered 183 votes, Patil got 158, with two votes being invalid.
After the victory, newly elected MCA president Kale said, “I thank everyone, the mentors and the voters alike. I am confident I can justify the faith in me, especially by Sharad Pawar saheb and Ashish Shelarji. I am looking forward to working with every stakeholder, including Sandeep Patil. I have been a huge fan of his as a cricketer and I will not shy away from seeking any help from him for MCA’s improvement.”
Patil meanwhile said he will provide his support to the new apex council members , “I congratulate them. I’m ready to help them in whichever way they want. I and my team have accepted this defeat, it was a fair election. I will whole-heartedly support the new body 100%. I expect them to take Mumbai cricket forward. I don’t know politics. The way these politicians came together (in the MCA elections), I expect and wish that it remains the same. Whether it’s a cricket match, or an election, both are tough. And you’ve already got the result.”
The Shelar-Pawar Group (SPG), which had seen who’s who across political spectrum in the state campaigning for it, won 10 of the 14 Apex Council seats, while Patil-led Mumbai Cricket Group had to settle for three posts.
The last time MCA had a Test cricketer president was in 1992, when late Madhav Mantri finished his four-year stint as the president after losing to Shiv Sena’s Manohar Joshi. Since then, former India captains Ajit Wadekar (lost to Pawar in 2001) and Dilip Vengsarkar (lost to late Vilasrao Deshkumh in 2011).
Ajinkya Naik, the consensus candidate nominated by both the groups, received 286 votes - the highest ever for any candidate in the history of MCA election, winning by a margin of 251 votes against independent Mayank Khandwala (35). Neil Savant, the third candidate, got 20 votes.
Arman Mallick (162) from the SPG group prevailed over incumbent treasurer Jagdish Achrekar (161) by a solitary vote for the treasurer’s post. With such close margin, Achrekar sought a recount but the margin remained the same, with Sanjeev Khanolkar polling 18 votes for the same post.
The three candidates from Patil’s group who were elected were from the Councillor’s post. They were Abhay Hadap, Kaushil Godbole (both 205) and Sandeep Vichare (154). Jitendra Awhad (163) and Milind Narvekar (221), aides of Pawar and Uddhav Thackeray, respectively, won convincingly.