Vengsarkar, Deshmukh heading for a two-way fight for MCA polls
Mumbai: Former India captain and chairman of national selection committee Dilip Vengsarkar on Thursday filed his nomination for the president`s post in the upcoming Mumbai Cricket Association`s elections, setting the stage for a straight fight for the coveted post with union minister Vilasrao Deshmukh.
Vengsarkar, who has completed two terms as the vice-president of the MCA representing Dadar Union cricket club, has galvanised a number of ex-Mumbai and India teammates and past administrators in his list of panel candidates to fight the July 15 elections against the panel floated by the Sharad Pawar-Bal Mahaddalkar group.
"I`m totally confident (of winning)," Vengsarkar said, filing his nomination.
Fighting the elections alongside Vengsarkar would be former Mumbai Ranji Trophy skipper Milind Rege, who will be contesting for one of the two vice presidents` posts, and his former Mumbai and India mates Balwinder Sandhu, Chandrakant Pandit and Karsan Ghavri.
Former Test stumper Pandit is to contest for one of the two joint secretaries` post while Sandhu and Ghavri are contesting for the eleven-member strong managing committee.
Though former Maharashtra CM Deshmukh is not a member of the Pawar panel, he is to be supported by the group from outside to become the new president of the association, which has provided India with the highest number of Test cricketers, according to a member of the panel.
With Union Agriculture Minister Pawar becoming ineligible to contest for a sixth term after changing his residency status from Mumbai to Baramati ahead of the last Lok Sabha polls, his group has decided to support Deshmukh`s candidature to succeed the NCP leader.
MCA has been ruled by politicians for most of the last 50 years with Madhav Mantri, a former India stumper, being the lone cricketer to have donned the mantle from the mid-60`s to date.
Former Test cricketers Polly Umrigar, Bapu Nadkarni, Naren Tamhane, Ramakant Desai and Ajit Wadekar have donned the administrators` posts as vice-presidents and joint secretaries.
But none have headed the MCA barring Mantri since Sesharao Wankhede took over the reins in 1963-64 and continued till 1986-87.
Wankhede was succeeded by Mantri before Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi became the president in 1992 and continued till 2001 only for fellow-politician Pawar to take over the MCA`s reins.
If Vengsarkar, who is backed by Shiv Sena, wins the polls he would be setting a new trend by breaking the politicians` 20-year stranglehold on the MCA`s affairs at the top.