Even though former DDCA president and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley hadn’t endorsed him publicly, there was little doubt that Sharma had his support. So much so that during voting, Jaitley’s wife Sangeeta made it clear that they backed Sharma.
“This victory has given hope to a lot of people that one can defeat anyone if your intentions are good,” said Sharma. “This place was occupied by some people for the last 35 years and someone like me who fought for the first time managed to win says how much members want the change.”
Not only did Lal lose, acting BCCI president Chandra Kishore Khanna’s wife Shashi, who was part of his team, was also defeated in the race for vice-president. In fact, Sharma’s group won all 12 seats on offer. Prior to the election, Khanna was widely regarded as the most formidable figure in the association and was known to have the strongest hold over proxy votes for the last three decades.
“The moment I got to know that proxy-voting system was over in DDCA, I knew it was going to be a mere formality for Rajat Sharma,” said one of Delhi cricket’s leading figures Virender Sehwag in an interview to India TV.
While there is sure to be some rancour about the results, in many ways, this was a refreshing election in Indian cricket. Many hailed it as historic since it was the first time in the 88-year existence of DDCA that all members were asked to vote in person. After amending its constitution, DDCA also incorporated the recommendations of the Lodha Committee.
Among those who voted were some of the most prominent names of Delhi cricket including legends like Bishan Singh Bedi, Sehwag, current Delhi Ranji skipper Ishant Sharma and former captain Gautam Gambhir. For personal reasons, Kapil Dev and Mohinder Amarnath could not come to Delhi to vote but during the campaign, the 1983 Champions had supported the candidature of their former team-mate Lal. BCCI acting treasurer Anirudh Chaudhry and IPL governing council chairman Rajeev Shukla also cast their votes.
“I know Rajat Sharma for last two decades and I can vouch for his commitment and integrity,” said former India cricketer Yashpal Sharma, who is also an in-house cricket expert on India TV. Another panellist, former India player Chetan Sharma, in fact reported Live for the channel from the Feroze Shah Kotla ground on Monday morning.
“Delhi’s weather is very hot today but I am feeling ठंडक (cool) with this result,” he said excitedly.
While a lot of critics still feel Shrama is just a ‘proxy’ president for Jaitley, others disagree. There is speculation that Sharma may be setting the base for a bigger role in the BCCI in the future. With Sourav Ganguly (India TV’s latest recruit as an expert) in his ‘team’ along with the likes of Sehwag and Gambhir, Sharma has formidable support.
Sharma’s immediate task will be to manage expectations as at least half of his team are relatives of past DDCA officials. Only time will tell if Delhi cricket has indeed entered a new era or the changes are merely cosmetic.
First Published: July 2, 2018, 7:30 PM IST