The fortnight-long power tussle for the prestigious Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) throne will conclude on Thursday with the triennial election.
In the fray are two heavyweight groups - the Ashish Shelar-Sharad Pawar Group (SPG) with a string of politicians across the political spectrum and the Mumbai Cricket Group (MCG), with World Cup winner Sandeep Patil as the face and mentored by former Mumbai captain Milind Rege and veteran administrator Ratnakar Shetty.
Also in the race are five candidates from the Bal Mahaddalkar Group (BMG), anchored by former MCA chief Ravi Savant.
Patil will take on Amol Kale, the current vice-president, in a straight contest for the post of the MCA president in a bid to become the first Test cricketer in three decades to head the MCA. However, with the political might having put all its effort behind Kale, it will be interesting to see whether the player power prevails over political bigwigs.
Besides the big battle, there will be a three-way contest for the secretary and the treasurer’s post. Mayank Khandwala (SPG), Ajinkya Naik (MCG) and Neil Savant (BMG) will vie for the secretary’s honours while incumbent treasurer Jagdish Achrekar (MCG) will be up against Arman Mallick (SPG) and Sanjeev Khanolkar (BMG).
Deepak Patil (SPG) will be elected unopposed as the joint-secretary while vice-president’s election with both the valid nominations being withdrawn. For the T20 League Governing Council, Vihang Sarnaik, son of legislator Pratak Sarnaik, will be elected unopposed as the chairman while his panel colleague Ganesh Iyer will take on Maulik Merchant for the governing council member’s post.
The nine posts for the councillor’s post will have 23 aspirants including some of the most hardworking faces in the maidans along with political leaders Milind Narvekar and Jitendra Awhad (SPG).
The Shelar-Pawar Group has seen Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis campaigning over the last week along with Pawar and Shelar, who on Wednesday was elected unopposed as the BCCI treasurer.
It has promised multiple memberships at influential clubs that are associations in return for ensuring a thumping majority for the group.
Patil, on the other hand, made an emotional appeal to the voters in his last meeting, stating all he can “offer is the will to work for Mumbai cricket and experience that our group has”.
Come Thursday and the ball will be in the 356 eligible voters’ court.
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